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Old 11-17-2012, 10:21 PM
AnotherConfused AnotherConfused is offline
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Default What if polyamory stops working?

My story is on this forum in bits and pieces from the past two or three years, but the summary of my situation is that I have a monogamous husband who is tolerating my relationship with a man I fell for about a year and a half ago. Through lots of trial and error we agreed last summer to an arrangement where I can go out of town two days a month to be with him. My husband prefers this to having him cross paths around our home on a less predictable schedule, and the boyfriend and I love getting to have a solid chunk of time together rather than trying to fit short visits between other things in our busy lives.

The problem is, this is getting harder and harder for my husband to take. Even though I am scrupulous about sticking to our agreements (including no PIV sex, which is increasingly agonizing) my husband feels like I am cheating on him. He doesn't feel like he can love me as much as we used to, and he feels like he is getting shortchanged out of the marriage he expected. I totally understand his perspective, and I feel awful about it, but I don't know what to do.

We are in counseling, and trying to focus on improving the relationship we have between us, leaving my polyamory as a sort of side issue that the counselor almost seems to find irrelevant for now. I do think there is a lot my husband and I can do to improve our marriage in terms of how we treat each other and how we live our lives. However, it's clear that this business of polyamory is hurting him more over time. He won't tell me to change what I do because he doesn't want to be in the position of controlling me or forcing me to give up something important to me, but I think he feels more and more betrayed by the fact that I am going forward in spite of his pain.

How would I go backward? Can a connection be unmade, or a relationship unformed? If I told my sweet adoring boyfriend that I wasn't going to see him any more, would that make my marriage stronger, better? Should we put a stop to our physical intimacy? I already feel like making PIV sex a taboo has had the unintended effect of giving all of our intimate encounters a layer of excitement and creativity that exists for the mere fact that we can't have routine sex, so I think if we stopped all of it, we'd build up an enormous amount of sexual tension. If I stopped seeing him at all, I'd cry buckets.

I'm trying to find the middle road between guilt and longing. I love them both, and I want them both to be happy, but my husband is not happy.
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  #2  
Old 11-18-2012, 12:17 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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HUSBAND POSITION

Quote:
He won't tell me to change what I do because he doesn't want to be in the position of controlling me or forcing me to give up something important to me, but I think he feels more and more betrayed by the fact that I am going forward in spite of his pain.
Let's try this on by taking ALL names out of the equation and talk about it like it's generic people. Sometimes that technique can help shed light by removing some of the emotion clouds.
  • The husband could acknowledge he feels pain right now.
  • The husband could take responsibility for himself and his own well being and long term health.
  • The husband could examine what behavior he does that ensues in pain for him.
  • The husband could acknowledge that he is choosing to participate in a non-monogamous marriage configuration that does not feed him.
  • The husband could acknowledge that choosing SILENCE when something bugs him is not working for him.
  • The husband could choose to change behavior to see if better feelings ensue over time.

What could husband choose to do as his next behavior?

The husband could choose to ask the wife:

" Wife, I gave it a try. I find it is still not for me. Are you willing to be in a monogamous marriage with me now that we've tried it on and it is time to re-assess?"


wife says yes, she is willing?
  • the husband could choose to stay with the wife in the new monogamous marriage configuration.
  • the wife adjusts her stuff because she is willing to do it.

The wife says maybe or not sure?
  • The husband could ask for wife to present final word by X deadline of reasonable time, and if deadline for "thinking time" passes without definite input from wife?
  • Husband can choose to move his life forward to a healthier space without wife input since she has nothing solid to share at this time.(Wife was given opportunity to speak up or not. Wife did not give definite input. Husband has no choice but to move on without her input toward his best healths.)

Wife says no, not willing?
  • The couple could choose to end the non-monogamous marriage.
  • The couple could choose to be friends afterward.
  • The husband could choose to heal himself and when ready, find the partner willing to be in monogamous marriage configuration that would feed him in that bucket.
    The wife could choose to heal herself and when ready, find the partner(s) for nonmonogamous marriage configuration that would feed her in that bucket.
  • The husband and wife could each choose to reach TOWARD best long term health and well being for the individuals.
  • The husband and wife could each choose to accept this configuration reached the final stop. The journey has ended. Time to get off the train and move forward.

WIFE POSITION

Quote:
I'm trying to find the middle road between guilt and longing. I love them both, and I want them both to be happy, but my husband is not happy.
  • Wife wants to be in a non-monogamous configuration.
  • Wife sees and knows husband is unhappy in non-monogamous configuration.
  • Wife is concerned for husband well being.
  • Wife is aware that husband is not willing to speak first.

What could wife choose to do as her next behavior?

Wife could choose to stay silent.
  • Watch husband suffer some more.
  • Suffer herself.
  • Choosing this behavior is her demonstrating loving behavior to husband she loves. (Yes/no?)
  • Does her TALK match her WALK with this choice when she says she loves him? (yes/no?)

Wife could choose to speak up.

WIFE could choose to initiate the Hard Conversation:

"Husband, I love you. I see you are suffering. Do you need to be in a monogamous marriage to feel better? Yes or no?"
If Husband answers yes? Wife must be prepared to answer:

"I am willing/not willing to be in monogamous marriage. I am/am not not able to meet that need and make the changes required."

I am sorry you are hurting.

But fear, or unwillingness to do introspection work on yourself, or not liking to feel yucky feelings...

Those are not a good reason to avoid having Hard Conversation that has to be had. HAVE IT. Are you a participant in your marriage tending or not? The marriage is hurting. Tend it. This includes talking to him about ending it to stop continual suffering you both experience and how you want to be after that sort of option if the couple chooses that.

What could the couple choose to do?

Could choose to speak to willingness.
Could choose to do the work of un-suffer.
Could choose to stop focus on what they do not want (aaaah! marriage ending!) that is causing paralysis.
Could choose focus to run TOWARD something good that both DO want:
  • End the thing that does not work and cultivate a relationship that COULD work if both want it and are willing -- be it monoship or friendship only.

Not stay in UGH because of fear of yucky and stay cultivating a thing that isn't feeding either much of anything but suffering.

Whatever the outcome the couple decides to work toward? (new and improved polyship, monoship, break up and friendship only, something else?)

I suggest you both could choose to BE WILLING do the work of UN-suffer to get yourselves over there to the Happier Place.

SPEAK UP. SPIT IT OUT.

You even have a counselor already -- let's go! Work on the communication skills you both could grow to better steer this relationship to its next port of call.

Hoping you both do ok...

Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 11-18-2012 at 12:42 AM.
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Old 11-18-2012, 01:06 AM
AnotherConfused AnotherConfused is offline
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What my husband has said to me today is that our "agreement" was something he was forced into because he felt I would revert to a recurrent illness if he didn't give in. That I have not been loyal to him, because I have been in a relationship with another man despite knowing that he did not "really" agree to it.

I called my boyfriend and we agreed to cancel our trips, and not be intimate, which really means not being together.

My husband is thankful and relieved and says now, finally, he can start putting effort into making our marriage better.

I am crying and crying and crying. I went running until it got too dark. Now what? How can I find closeness and intimacy with my husband, when I so much resent his unwillingness to make this work? (I say unwilling in part because he backs out on our agreements, and in part because he flatly refuses to try to learn or understand anything about polyamory on the grounds that he doesn't want anything to do with it.)

Should I smile and fake domestic happiness and offer my body at night and hope that eventually I convince myself that this is what I want? Or can I go live in the guest room and write down every wonderful moment I've had with my boyfriend before I forget them, because they have been some of the absolute best moments of my life? At least for a little while?

This hurts SO MUCH! Why must I choose? I get to love both my children, and both my parents. How does my loving another man hurt my husband so much?
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Old 11-18-2012, 01:43 AM
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Being on the young end at this forum AND very new, I apologize ahead of time for any naivety. ((And I think I just point that out cause galagirl has provided with such a great breakdown as it is.. XD))

Honestly it does not sound like you want to be with him anymore. Or at least you are just willing to be unhappy in a relationship with him.

It seems your emotions are not very flexible concerning your monogamy with him. You have to ask yourself, is it worth suffering to stay with him? Do you want to stay with him so bad that you don't mind letting yourself hurt, is it because you believe one day you heal and feel you can ((learn/heal)) to be happy in a monogamous relationship? Perhaps you just need the forum to vent your feelings, which is perfectly all right I think. Maybe deep down you believe that you can be happy again, but with just your husband. It seems that way cause you haven't chosen to leave your husband(and that could rely on a whole bag of other issues that have nothing to do with your desired relationship dynamic.) I guess what I'm trying to get at is, you are hurting, and it may help to dig down a bit deeper as to why you currently hurt, find out if you're going to continue to hurt, and if it's worth it. Being unhealthy to yourself, trying to convince yourself of something you might not ever agree with will be your undoing, and I don't mean just cheating on your husband.
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Old 11-18-2012, 03:52 AM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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Ah, AC, it is bittersweet to hear form you. I am glad to see a post from you again because your participation here has been missed - but I am so very sorry to hear that it has gotten to this point... again. You have had so many bumps in the road, and your husband has made you spitting mad sometimes, but it seemed to be taking baby steps forward after each time you and he would talk and get clear on things.

I know that his Indian culture, and his huge pride about what a proper wife and mother should be, has influenced his choices in the past, but -- I can't quite believe him when he says he went along with poly against his wishes, and because of your heart condition. That sounds too much like blaming you for his remorse over choices he made. He is regretful and not accepting responsibility for the agreements he made and then went back on so many times before.

I would be upset, too, if I were you. You had told us before that there were many times he expressed being satisfied with the arrangement. After misunderstandings, you strove to accommodate his requests, and always respected his wishes. And he acknowledged that - until the next time he had remorseful thoughts and started picking on you again. So, to me, he either lied then or is lying now. I think that, besides his refusal to try and learn more about poly, one of your biggest issues is communication. He has gone back on his word so many times, or misconstrued small things as huge transgressions against him. I also think that your therapy needs to focus on how he sees the roles of husband and wife and what marriage means to him - I feel like a broken record saying that, but every time you and he have an issue, I get the sense that most of his struggle is with the IMAGE of marriage and what your being polyamorous would MEAN, in relation to his position and knowing his place in the world. I am afraid I may not be expressing it well, but I think his issues are less about you two as the individuals you are, with whatever needs you have, and more about what a husband and wife should be to each other, according to what he thinks is the right way to be.

Another thing I noticed is that, every time he expresses his displeasure, you immediately go to remedy it by putting the breaks on your other relationship. You never really let your husband stew and feel the depth of his discomfort. He protests and you jump. I'm not saying that you should rub his nose in anything or make him suffer, but you are always so accommodating that I don't think he ever really works through any of the stuff he feels. Nor does he ever seem proactive; he waits for you to do something, expresses how he feels and then waits for you to fix it. There's something to look at there; I'm not sure what, though.


I'm glad you came back here to let us know what's going on. I hope you find a satisfying way out of the pain, something that all of you can live with.
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Last edited by nycindie; 11-18-2012 at 04:00 AM.
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Old 11-18-2012, 04:34 AM
MeeraReed MeeraReed is offline
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I'm sad to hear that things aren't going well. I've always been interested in your story and I know how hard you have worked on your marriage.

Unfortunately, I have to go back to my initial first impression: your husband has too many issues of his own that he is unwilling to address. Would an amicable divorce be possible?

You love your husband, but he doesn't share your views on marriage, love, sex, etc. You've worked hard to go at his own very slow pace with your polyamorous relationships--but he's not even grateful to you / appreciative of you for that.

I'm so sorry.
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Old 11-18-2012, 04:43 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Quote:
What my husband has said to me today is that our "agreement" was something he was forced into because he felt I would revert to a recurrent illness if he didn't give in.
So he signed up to do something he was not willing to do because of a fear he had. He did not speak to his willingness.

Quote:
That I have not been loyal to him, because I have been in a relationship with another man despite knowing that he did not "really" agree to it.
  • He gave you false information (past behavior) about his willingness to participate rather than just stating "No. I am not willing to participate." (Giving false information? This is called lying.)
  • Now he is blaming you (current behavior) for feeling yucky feelings that ensued after his own past behavior choice. (This is called not wanting to be responsible for his own actions.)
  • He had the expectation that you would mind reader his "real" information. (This is called an unrealistic expectation. Also called not giving clear communication.)

Do these behavior of his create a trusting,loving environment in the marriage? A list of less than forthright behavior? No.
  • You went with the information he presented in good faith. A wife willing to trust the husband.

Does this behavior of yours help create a trusting, loving environment in the marriage -- demonstrating a willingness to believe the spouse? Yes.

You could bring this up in counseling:
  • What behavior could you each do to help create a trusting and loving environment in the marriage?
  • Who will be doing what?

Could also mention this in counseling:
  • If he cannot know his own wants, needs and limits inside himself?
  • If he cannot articulate them clearly to his spouse so you understand his wants, needs, and limits?
  • If he expects you to be magical mind reader?
  • If he cannot OWN his own behavior choices?
  • If he cannot OWN his own feelings that ensue after his own behavior choices?
  • If he cannot help to create a trusting, loving environment in the marriage?

You cannot hit a moving goal post.

You could ask him in counseling if these are behaviors he willing to change in service to the marriage health so that you both can be in right relationship.

Quote:
I called my boyfriend and we agreed to cancel our trips, and not be intimate, which really means not being together. My husband is thankful and relieved and says now, finally, he can start putting effort into making our marriage better.
DH got his "time out break" with the scary boyfriend set to the side for a bit. So NOW he will behave differently HOW? Is there a list being prepared in counseling for behavior he will now execute to to help create a trusting loving environment in the marriage for both parties?

Here is your opportunity: what are you wants? Needs? Limits in this marriage? What do you need to be fed here? What do you expect your husband to deliver?

Here is his opportunity: what are his wants? Needs? Limits in this marriage? What do he need to be fed here? What does he expect you to deliver?

Are these things SMART? (S)pecific? (M)easurable? (A)ttainable? (R)ealistic? (T)imely?

Or more "mind reader" type stuff that is not attainable by anyone? If he presents you with a crazy list, you can say you are not willing to sign up for this. Make you a new offer. Make sure your list to him is SMART and in the land of reality.

Assuming you are willing to give him another chance? For how long before the next checkpoint? This is the final checkpoint, right? Because you can't hang around waiting forever for him to choose behaviors that are constructive to the health of the marriage. Rather than indulging in all these destructive behaviors.

Remember to speak to willingness! Do not be willing to be in just any ol' kind of relationship with him. But what it takes to be in RIGHT relationship so you, he and the marriage can be healthy? Is he now going to provide you with the right to responsiveness, clear communication and all that has been missing so you can be in right relationship? Get it written down and be willing to hold each other accountable. Here's ours. Feel free to borrow what helps you as you form yours.

Quote:
I am crying and crying and crying. I went running until it got too dark. Now what?
I am sorry you are hurting. Do your self care that you need. You could choose to take charge of your own life and your own behaviors after a chance to calm your soul. Yes, you CAN choose!

Quote:
How can I find closeness and intimacy with my husband, when I so much resent his unwillingness to make this work? I say unwilling in part because he backs out on our agreements, and in part because he flatly refuses to try to learn or understand anything about polyamory on the grounds that he doesn't want anything to do with it.
In my universe, he'd be on strikes. I have a limit. I am willing to work with a partner learning new skills but 3 strikes you are out. I'm not up for endless shenanigans. I want a serious try player. He's not sounding like one.

I've written about mono/poly mismatch in my journal thread - the whole first page and part of second covers my thoughts on mono-poly mismatch.

If you choose to agree to a Closed Polyship of 2, is he going to agree to Open to the authentic poly you and allow you poly expression? Not a LOVER. But share in your inner emotional world? You are starving for emotional intimacy with him.

He can choose to provide for your need for emotional intimacy. He can choose not to. He chooses his behavior. Not you.

But you can see what he chooses next. And then you choose yours: You can choose to stay. You can choose to leave.

I know it is hard to FEEL. But the actions are simple. You choose your own next behavior based on what's going on around you and information received. So choose your next choice. Choose to get on with your living your life in a way that is healthy.

Quote:
Should I smile and fake domestic happiness and offer my body at night and hope that eventually I convince myself that this is what I want?
How is this YOU tending to your long term health?

I do not suggest this choice. It is not healthy.

Quote:
Or can I go live in the guest room and write down every wonderful moment I've had with my boyfriend before I forget them, because they have been some of the absolute best moments of my life? At least for a little while?
That is a separate relationship. You can choose to keep the BF. You can choose to break up with him.

Right now I am hearing you chose to cancel a trip with the BF and postpone sex to allow space to work on the marriage and give DH the emotional safety he needs to get his butt in gear and WORK ON THE MARRIAGE.

So let's not jump the gun on the BF thing. Thank him for his patience and willingness to let you focus on this area of your life. Could tell BF you plan to check back in on _____ date so he's not out in the cold.

So now that husband can focus...

What are his deliverables for new behaviors? In what time frame? Try this new way for a month? Then assess?

What do you need to see happening to make this a worthwhile return on your investment? He will choose to perform to spec or not?

If he chooses destructive behavior STILL? When the deadline arrives you could say -- I am sorry. You got your request for BF to be on hold for a month so you could focus on healthy change. You continue to choose desctructive behavior. This does not to meet my needs. We must part ways.

That IS looking out for your long term healths. You love him so you are willing to endure some short term suckage to see if he gets his act together or not. If he doesn't? You can choose to love him from a distance so it is safer for your health. Not throw YOU under the bus.

Loving husband does not mean automatic staying with husband. You can love him all your life. But you do not have to stay in a destructive climate.

YOU choose your behavior.

Quote:
This hurts SO MUCH! Why must I choose?
You have to choose because you are responsible for your own long term health. You have to live in a climate where you can be able to love and care for yourself well. You have to live in a climate where you can be able to love and care for husband well. Is husband helping to create this kind of climate necessary in the marriage with his destructive behavior choices? No. This is not a health climate for your. You are not choosing between loving BF and loving DH. You are choosing your health climate.

You are here:

1) You can choose to stay in a bad climate with no change.

2) You can choose to ask husband to change his behavior and improve the marriage climate. (He will choose to do so or not.)

3) Then you can choose to stay/leave based on results of his chosen behavior. Because you have a limit on endless suckage. Don't you?
  • Breaking up sucks, but has a light and end of the tunnel. Short term suckage for eventual long term health betterment.
  • Staying in never ending suckage? It is never ending and draining. This is bad for both short term AND long term health.

You can love each of them all you want. AND move you to a healthy climate.

Quote:
I get to love both my children, and both my parents. How does my loving another man hurt my husband so much?
Ask him in counseling. That is his work to do -- the work of sorting out his feelings and learning emotional management/introspection skills. Learning articulating skills too.

Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 11-18-2012 at 05:24 AM.
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Old 11-18-2012, 09:05 AM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaGirl View Post
He did not speak to his willingness.
What does "he did not speak to his willingness" mean? If he agreed to certain things, and then went back on his word and put up more restrictions, then what would "speaking to his willingness" have looked like, exactly? I find this phrase confusing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaGirl View Post
If you choose to agree to a Closed Polyship of 2 . . .
I think you should explain what you mean by that. Not many people I know use the same lingo you do. As far as I know, a closed relationship of two people is called monogamy, or a monogamous dyad. And that is what AC's husband would prefer. IIRC, he has only ever been with AC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaGirl View Post
Right now I am hearing you chose to cancel a trip with the BF and postpone sex to allow space to work on the marriage and give DH the emotional safety he needs to get his butt in gear and WORK ON THE MARRIAGE.

So let's not jump the gun on the BF thing. Thank him for his patience and willingness to let you focus on this area of your life. Could tell BF you plan to check back in on _____ date so he's not out in the cold.

So now that husband can focus...

What are his deliverables for new behaviors? . . .
Yes, and they have done this before. In older threads, you will see that this is not the first time AC put a stop on activities with the boyfriend -- AND there was also another love that she let go completely -- to make peace with her husband. Her husband has done this back and forth number on her again and again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaGirl View Post
If he chooses destructive behavior STILL? When the deadline arrives you could say -- I am sorry. You got your request for BF to be on hold for a month so you could focus on healthy change. You continue to choose desctructive behavior. This does not to meet my needs. We must part ways.
AC - I agree with this and the others who have said similarly, that maybe the marriage is heading to an end, though I know how deeply you love your husband. Unfortunately, once again, here I am saying... love is simply not enough to make a relationship satisfying and fulfilling. There has to be a true partnership where each person gives of themselves and creates a space for the other to shine fully with the light of who they are, and to be the best they can be, as well as living as fully as they can and striving for their own full potential. It's just not enough to love someone if a working partnership isn't there. Yes, keep working on the issues in therapy, but consider that the alternative, as scary and terrible as it may be to even think of splitting up, could be the key to your freedom and happiness. For both of you.
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Old 11-18-2012, 09:26 AM
InfinitePossibility InfinitePossibility is offline
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So sad to read that you are going through this. I've followed your story and had hoped that things were going better between all of you.

The situation you are in now absolutely sucks.

It has always sounded to me like you and your husband care deeply for each other. You have been willing to shift the relationship with your boyfriend numerous times to try and help your husband feel more comfortable. Your husband has been willing to agree to a situation that he has been clear is upsetting for him. Your boyfriend has dealt with the resulting shifts in his relationship with you without complaint.

The love and effort from all of you shines through in your posts

But - maybe there is just no way to make this work as you want it to?

I reckon you've all given it a good, long try and have made numerous attempts at shifting and changing arrangements to see if they will work.

Maybe you have to choose something that isn't exactly what any of you want.

You could carry on as you are right now, allow your husband to be uncomfortable. Nobody's life is perfect and maybe having an ongoing niggle that you have a boyfriend is something that you and he can live with?

You could work to just be friends with your boyfriend and allow yourself to be uncomfortable. As before, nobody's life is perfect and maybe having an ongoing niggle that you don't have a boyfriend is something that you and your husband can live with?

You could work to be just friends with your husband and to co-parent your children while both being free to pursue whatever lifestyle makes you each happiest. It might not be the most comfortable situation but nobody's life is perfect and maybe the ongoing niggle of being friends and co-parents is something that you can live with?

I wish you well and continue to hope that you can all be happy.

IP
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Old 11-18-2012, 01:33 PM
dingedheart dingedheart is offline
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Sorry to hear things aren't going well. With the long absence I assumed all the kinks were worked out. Again sorry.

To your question ..... when was it working well. Every thread or conversation you and I ever had he was against it ...he didn't sign up for it ...he doesn't want to share his wife with 2 other guys ....he tolerated it, to make you happy, to keep the family together, etc ,etc... forgive me if I'm wrong but I thought you said that once the kids were gone he would reavaluate the marriage at that time. The DADT, all those things are the definition of not being on board.

I think you have to give him some credit for trying. Unless it was just ways to run the clock.

If you didn't have kid how long would this situation have lasted? Or would it
have started at all... wouldn't he have said see ya later have a nice life?

Clearly he's mono lots of people are all over the world that's his choice.

You now identify as poly that's your choice or the hand you've been dealt.
Life too short for you to deny all that you are or compromise away the great majority of who you are or how you want to express yourself. And the same thing goes for him if he wants a full-time mono wife why settle ?

Youre both settling and both resentful. If you truly love him and want him to be happy you'd set him you free....and he 'd do the same for you. It's just incompatibility.....cramming someone in too small a shoe.
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