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  #31  
Old 10-08-2012, 02:22 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Sorry if it seemed like your thread got threadjacked! That was not my intent.

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I really did not set out to serialize this situation or create an ongoing soap opera for anyone else's edification. I've really just been using this forum to sort out my feelings and thoughts about my role, limited though it may be, and seek input from a few experienced poly outsiders.
Sounds like maybe you want it be more blog thread like?

Did you want this to be moved to the blog thread area? You could ask for that here.

http://www.polyamory.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=23

Galagirl
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  #32  
Old 10-08-2012, 04:19 PM
BraverySeeker BraverySeeker is offline
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No, GalaGirl, this thread is fine where it is. And the back-and-forth is more than welcome. I just regret I am unable to keep up with you all and engage with everyone, point by point.

I also shouldn't have led folks to believe they're going to get frequent and dramatic blow-by-blow accounts of this situation. I understand the value (to others grappling with similar issues) of debating who should do what, when and how. But as I'm sure you understand, we're real people living real lives in real time. I can't, out of a need to protect and respect everyone concerned, repeat word-for-word what I'm told or what I know.

I'd rather relate to this fluid situation by posing questions I think you and others on this board can constructively field. I hope that's not too one sided of me. I really appreciate the insight I've already received.

So in keeping with my last post, I'm interested to hear what general experience you all have had with marriage counselors. Is it unusual, as I suspect, to find mediators who don't automatically equate one spouse falling in love with someone outside the marriage as unacceptable infidelity? Has there been any broadening of minds among the professional class of relationship coaches to consider the legitimacy of polyamory in at least some circumstances?

Last edited by BraverySeeker; 10-08-2012 at 04:22 PM.
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  #33  
Old 10-08-2012, 05:06 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Quote:
I just regret I am unable to keep up with you all and engage with everyone, point by point. I also shouldn't have led folks to believe they're going to get frequent and dramatic blow-by-blow accounts of this situation.
I have no such expectation. You put in what you feel like when YOU feel like. It's your thread!

GG
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  #34  
Old 10-08-2012, 05:16 PM
dingedheart dingedheart is offline
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I've been to marriage counseling and from my experience it's to pick through area's of miscommunication or no communication with a moderator to keep things on point and fair.

In the case you've presented it looks like to me ( way up here in the cheap seats ) that unless her bi sexual tendency were known to him and ignored that they are dealing with general couple stuff....neglect, being taken for granted, general intimacy stuff.
In most cases the affairs are an acting out of what a persons not getting at home, escapism, etc. So you get the chicken an the egg argument.
In this case you might have 2 or 3 issues running a parallel tracks.

Also is it fair to craft the counseling to fit the out come the 3 or you want ?

Last edited by dingedheart; 10-08-2012 at 10:27 PM.
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  #35  
Old 10-08-2012, 07:36 PM
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SchrodingersCat SchrodingersCat is offline
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You can find poly-friendly counsellors. The easiest way is to just call them up, and ask if they're supportive of polyamory. If they ask what that is, then they probably aren't.
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  #36  
Old 10-17-2012, 05:36 PM
BraverySeeker BraverySeeker is offline
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"Couples who turn to a therapist hoping for guidance on ways to loosen -- but not break -- the bonds of standard monogamy are likely to be offered little but defensive condemnation and stilted bromides. ... [It is] the rare therapist [who is] willing to publicly consider that heterosexual couples might find alternative arrangements that can work well for them -- even if they find themselves outside the bounds of what mainstream society approves," write Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha in their excellent book Sex at Dawn.

In Polyamory in the 21st Century, Deborah Anapol references a 2002 study "that found 38 percent of polyamorous people who were in therapy chose not to even mention their poly lifestyle to their therapist. Of those who did reveal it, 10 percent reported experiencing a negative response. Even when a therapist was not judgmental, some clients ended up using their paid session time to educate therapists who knew nothing about polyamory."

I suspect DingedHeart is correct that the issue of polyamory may be moot if the more fundamental problem with which an unhappy married couple is seeking therapy is bad communication. In such cases where one spouse wants the other to accept either her desire for polyamory or a breakup while the other one wants to save the marriage, I suspect it would be unfairly stacking the deck for the poly-leaning spouse to insist on a poly-sympathizing therapist.

As it happens, the couple I'm connected to via my poly-leaning wife is now in therapy. However, my wife's GF and her husband are seeking therapy separately just as they are also now days into an actual separation. She has moved out. He is despondent. And their two teenage sons are now dealing with that, as well as can be hoped for so far.

I'm no therapist, but the separation appears entirely necessary. They have been unable to speak to each other with civility or with both able to hear the other. He's still begging her to come back, as early as this weekend. She's trying to get him to understand that to her their marriage is over.

After she had moved out, he reached out to me in a long meandering email about how he didn't blame my wife but wished she and I could help his wife see the importance of keeping their family together. And although he briefly acknowledged that their marriage had been on the rocks "for years," he claimed he never saw coming her willingness to leave him.

I wrote back. I told him about my breakup years ago, followed by three years of zero communication between my then GF and I. Only then, when we had stopped taking each other for granted, did we fall in love again, marry and start a family. I told him I would be forever grateful for those three years in the emotional wilderness.

I admitted our situations were not analagous, given that my breakup occurred prior to the intertwining of our lives. But I told him that the only real option for him was to accept and respect his wife's wish to no longer be with him. I cautioned him against believing that they, like my wife and I, could get back together. I channeled my inner Dan Savage by bluntly advising him to give up the ghost that is their marriage.

I also urged him not to conflate his marital problems with our wives' romantic interest in one another. The marriage was in trouble for years before our spouses fell for each other just 2-3 months ago. This new relationship was not causal but probably helped clarify what his wife had been feeling/not feeling for him for quite some time.

Although he thanked me for my brutal honesty, I know it is unlikely we will correspond again or that he and I can or will see the situation the same way. He's looking at his life as he's known it disintegrating, while I'm reaping the benefits of a life partner who is exploring her love for two people with their full knowledge and encouragement.

My wife, I should add, has had her moments of insecurity, too. She has expressed fear that her GF may no longer need her once the trauma and drama over the failing marriage runs its course. And if the GF were to decide to reconcile with her husband, my wife fears she will get and accept advice from her therapist to give up their relationship.

To her credit, the GF has consistently reassured my wife that their relationship is nonnegotiable.

As they had done a few weeks ago, which prompted me to start this thread, they have again arranged to spend their first night together this weekend. They are very likely to follow through this time, however.

I'm at a place now where I could ask them to imagine not having to get a hotel room, but cuddle together on our couch watching a movie. Before heading to bed together, my wife would give me a kiss, leaving me to tell them in the morning how the film ended. They both expressed amazement at the suggestion, but I wasn't overtly trying to impress them with the advanced state of my compersion. I just look forward to a time when we are all just that comfortable with this arrangement.

I'm really happy for them. I really am.

But I'm sad for him. I'm less sympathetic, however, as I've learned more about his resorting to threats, manipulation, arrogance and utter deafness. One example: Within 24 hours of asking his wife not to tell their friends of their troubled marriage, he told several of them about the separation AND the affair, thereby outing her in the process. He did so to seek allies among their mutual acquaintances, obviously, but I think it was a recklessly insensitive dick move.

He probably will never know nor appreciate how our wives delayed the full potential of their affair out of respect for him and hope in the possibility, only glimpsed at, that he could understand and accept their love. His inability to see the "affair" in any way but in a negatively conventional sense is unfortunate and disappointing, but not surprising -- or without justification. At least they told him before it became physically intimate. He needed to be told when he was.

So it's still a mess, with both increasingly ugly and beautiful aspects. My wife and I are still relating very well, but I know that's a fire I need to stoke much more regularly than I used to. My wife says she hasn't felt so in love and loved the way she does now since we got back together 12 years ago. I'm thrilled for her and I'm thrilled for us, the three of us.

Should there be four of us? Apparently not. I will not say his loss is anyone's gain. I prefer to believe that eventually he, too, will find love again. The breakup with his wife may just be the first thing that has to happen to make that possible.

Last edited by BraverySeeker; 10-17-2012 at 05:56 PM.
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  #37  
Old 10-18-2012, 07:34 AM
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SchrodingersCat SchrodingersCat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BraverySeeker View Post
In such cases where one spouse wants the other to accept either her desire for polyamory or a breakup while the other one wants to save the marriage, I suspect it would be unfairly stacking the deck for the poly-leaning spouse to insist on a poly-sympathizing therapist.
Any therapist worth his salt will be able to separate the poly issues from the marital issues. If he's even remotely experienced, he would never encourage one spouse to start having other relationships while the marriage is still on the rocks.

I live in a city of only 200,000. Our local poly group maintains a list of poly-friendly health practitioners, including doctors and therapists. All that means is that they won't jump on polyamory as the beginning and end of the problem.
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  #38  
Old 10-18-2012, 07:45 AM
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SchrodingersCat SchrodingersCat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BraverySeeker View Post
But I'm sad for him. I'm less sympathetic, however, as I've learned more about his resorting to threats, manipulation, arrogance and utter deafness. One example: Within 24 hours of asking his wife not to tell their friends of their troubled marriage, he told several of them about the separation AND the affair, thereby outing her in the process. He did so to seek allies among their mutual acquaintances, obviously, but I think it was a recklessly insensitive dick move.
Yeah, that's totally not cool. And if that's his MO, then no wonder she hit the road running. I'm surprised she lasted as long as she did, and I strongly suspect that seeing a beautiful marriage like yours helped open her eyes.

Quote:
He needed to be told when he was.
With the whole story down now, I rather suspect this could have played out just as well if she'd never told him. I realize that she had to go through the steps she did. But in that old 20/20 hindsight, I think she could have safely just left him and played like she met your wife afterwards.

That might sound deceitful, and it probably is. But that whole "open honest communication" thing only really applies if you're actually in the relationship. If you're already leaving, it's perfectly fine to hold your cards close to your chest. I would never accuse a woman leaving an abusive relationship of being "dishonest" for hoarding money and clothes away for her escape. This is not so different. She will now face an uphill battle with the divorce. Depending on the state, her "affair" could make her ineligible for spousal support. Fortunately, they didn't "do anything," as far as the courts are concerned, until they were separated. Its not "cheating" legally if you aren't sexual.

Quote:
Should there be four of us? Apparently not. I will not say his loss is anyone's gain. I prefer to believe that eventually he, too, will find love again. The breakup with his wife may just be the first thing that has to happen to make that possible.
You're very optimistic. From the pieces I've heard, he sounds like an ass. Unfortunately, ass holes bag women all the time. *sigh* I only pity the next woman who falls for his crap.
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Gralson: my husband (works out of town).
Auto: my girlfriend (lives with her husband Zoffee).

The most dangerous phrase in the English language is "we've always done it this way."
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  #39  
Old 10-18-2012, 02:26 PM
BraverySeeker BraverySeeker is offline
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SC, very astute reading. I would add that I think my metamour is fortunately in a financial situation that favors her coming out of this fine. But she's getting a lawyer. As well as seeing a therapist and a real estate agent.

Which brings to mind a new question: What would you and other Senior Members think about my wife and I seeking a poly-minded therapist proactively? We talked about this last night.

As much as my wife keeps saying she feels so lucky to have two sexy, mature and passionate partners, her good fortune inevitably leaves her feeling guilty and fearful that she could wind up hurting one or both of us. I don't see how, so long as she continues to be open and honest and trusts me with being able to handle her having this other relationship. I said I don't want her to consider me an obstacle to her loving her GF. Personally, I want to do everything I can to foster her love life, including what's between the two of us, short of smothering her/them with my enthusiasm. I know we'll probably make mistakes, but I don't want to regret how it all plays out.

Before anything could or does go wrong, my wife said maybe we should see a therapist together. I had already identified a sex- and poly-positive professional in our area -- one I'd be excited to meet whether I was her client or not. My wife seems game to go to her in a counseling capacity.

But we're doing fine right now. Better than fine, really. I've never had therapy. Maybe there's reason to fear it. Maybe I should worry about what a therapist could draw out of me. Hell, I didn't know I could deal with my wife having another lover until confronted with that actually happening. There have been lesser confessions that have followed, but with the doors blown open to the previously unimaginable, I'm a little fearful what I may say and whether it's anything my wife needs to hear or can handle.

Seriously, not much comes to mind. Except one little thing: My wife's GF is a beautiful woman, but more attractive to me for how she's been able to incite such passion in my wife. Although my wife confessed early on that she feared her GF and I falling for one another, I thought that far fetched and told her so. The metamour and I are the monos to our poly hinge --> my wife/her GF. That arrangement is complicated enough, but manageable. I could easily see that if things got sticky between the GF and I, the whole house of cards falling.

As I mentioned in my intro post (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=29185), when I was dumped years ago by my wife (then GF), I briefly and foolishly imagined a triad with her and the woman with whom she was cheating on me. Just the suggestion was a disaster.

So that's off the table in the current era, too, out of respect for my wife and HER relationship with HER GF. I have no interest in inserting myself more intimately and thereby torpedoing what they have. I suspect that would put at risk my wife's trust in and love for me quicker than anything.

I'm not some horndog "playing his cards right" in hopes of a steamy threesome. Fuck no. I just hope, if asked by a crafty therapist if I have designs on my wife's GF, that I can adequately allay any fears my wife has that I am that horndog cliche.

Flip the coin, and my wife said her GF has said to her "I wish I could have you all to myself." I know I should take that as the metamour intended it -- as endearing -- and not as a threatening shot across my bow. The metamour has also said, "I'm going to fight for" a relationship with my wife. She's let me know that's what she's told her estranged husband. I responded that I expect and hope she will. Now I'm wondering if the better response from me should have been, "I'm fighting for her, too, you know."

Last edited by BraverySeeker; 10-18-2012 at 03:08 PM.
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  #40  
Old 10-18-2012, 02:50 PM
BoringGuy BoringGuy is offline
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Quote:
Which brings to mind a new question: What would you and other Senior Members think about my wife and I seeking a poly-minded therapist proactively? We talked about this last night.
"Senior members" means that a person has a certain number of posts on the forum. It has nothing to do with the quality of their posts or how much of a "poly expert" they are. A person could get to be a "senior member" by posting "Welcome" to new intros or by posting in the Word Association Game, etc.

That said -

Quote:
Before anything could or does go wrong, my wife said maybe we should see a therapist together. I had already identified a sex- and poly-positive professional in our area -- one I'd be excited to meet whether I was her client or not. My wife seems game to go to her in a counseling capacity.
As a "senior member", I don't think this is a bad idea at all. I think most people try to "seek counseling" when they feel there is a problem they can't handle by themselves. Establishing a professional relationship with a counselor proactively would enable the counselor to collect information and gain insight as to what your baseline is during "good" times, and give them more to draw upon when it comes to helping you through a difficult situation or a crisis (similar to the way a physician does when he or she sees a client for their annual check-up).
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