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  #51  
Old 12-23-2012, 07:57 AM
amk amk is offline
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Default voice? i'm not so sure...

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Originally Posted by Anneintherain View Post
Hmm, I am going to be honest and say you seem defensive, which you have every right to be, but I'll point out that if you were my partner and reacted like that to me in a discussion or that attitude was coming through in your tone, I'd be put off and closed down.

Of COURSE your voice matters. However, if somebody is put off strongly by a certain experience (my mom was a swinger, I am very put off by the idea of a partner asking me to do that, and would dismiss it out of hand), even if you find it something you'd like, just realize that it's not likely you will get them to want to agree to it. Let's say she specifically asked for a MFM triad, if you KNOW you don't want to be in a MFM triad where you have sex with her boyfriend, I imagine you'd just say "No I don't want that" and not be interested in further discussion?

That's why I suggest the book, and exploring alternatives to what you suggested. It's also why I suggested the phrased response I did, it opens up the conversation again and gives her the opportunity to respond to what you wanted even though she closed down and didn't address it before. Hopefully it gives you both a chance to remember that you're both coming at this discussion from a place of loving each other (or I hope you are) and to not close down or get upset with each other, but to be able to calmly discuss what you and and how you can both compromise to both be OK with the situations...OR at least to realize that you both can't come to common ground and make decisions based on that.
First, let me say that she and I do love each other very much. You make a good point that I had not considered: she may very well feel very strongly about not being involved with another couple. I am not really upset about that, it is more the immediate reaction of "not no, but hell no" that I was hurt by. I was distraught when she told me about her desires at first, but I calmly listened, didn't shoot her down, make her feel bad or judge her for her feelings. When I voiced my thoughts, I wasn't afforded that same courtesy and THAT is what makes me upset.

In regards to the book you suggested, I am interested to check it out despite not mentioning that in my earlier reply.

On the path I have chosen through all this, my goals remain the same: be understanding, nonjudgmental and above all listen without reacting initially. I only ask for a measure of the same from her, in return.
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  #52  
Old 12-23-2012, 08:13 AM
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Anneintherain Anneintherain is offline
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I really appreciate your response - I could've said it differently, the idea of being sexual in more than a twosome is terrifying for me unless I was friends with everybody, so I just wanted to encourage you to see that might be possible for her too. And of course you'd think she would react with as much aplomb as you are - people we love are flawed, so even though we hope they are as considerate to us as we are to them, sometimes they just can't be, of course ideally she reacts as well as you do, but we don't always get the same in return you know?

And Lord do I know how much turmoil sudden dynamic changes can bring. I was coming to suggest that maybe your local library had the book but even the Seattle King Country library system doesn't have it I just wanted to add that besides being a great primer for deciding if and what open relationship style might work for you, I' wanted to say that even ten years after starting to explore polyamory I'm still referencing it. I think it's probably especially useful in pinning down the interests of each person so negotiation or conversation can start from there.

I'm really wishing you luck, and that she is as willing to stop and look at your needs and desires too and remember you deserve a lot of slack for the game changing play she threw out there.
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  #53  
Old 12-24-2012, 05:03 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is online now
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I guess I feel like if she wants me to feel comfortable with everything, maybe she should make some concession to what would be helpful to me even if it isn't something she is super interested in.
I would not suggest a foursome.

Why can't it be a dinner/movie date with this couple to "try it on" in a safe way if you want to try a small Opening? End it with a hug/kiss good night and then take time out to digest it.

Why does it have to be just leaping into group sex because this couple propositioned you in the past? Can you see how over the top that can seem?

Quote:
I am not really upset about that, it is more the immediate reaction of "not no, but hell no" that I was hurt by. I was distraught when she told me about her desires at first, but I calmly listened, didn't shoot her down, make her feel bad or judge her for her feelings. When I voiced my thoughts, I wasn't afforded that same courtesy and THAT is what makes me upset.
Perhaps you guys can look into non-violent communication techniques?

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I have often sacrificed or stifled my own desires for that of my family. I think the results of that over the last 12 years are crashing down upon me now. I need to find my own voice, find my own self-esteem... within me. Only then will I be secure in myself and have a better idea of what I can handle in the way of outside partners (hers or mine). To sum it up, I'm still confused, but I have a plan to become a more enlightened, better me. The outcome between she and I doesn't matter as much as me being in a better place to deal with it, whatever it may be.
Sounds like you have zeroed in a key thing here in your own personal growth.
If you haven't been choosing self respecting behavior and trying to be too "people pleaser" at your own expense, no wonder you are feeling bone dry. It is not self respecting to run yourself to the ground. That's not self caring at all. It leads to lacking in the self-esteem department.

You sound like you are making some headway in your processing -- I hope things keep moving along.

Hang in there.

GG
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  #54  
Old 12-24-2012, 06:24 AM
amk amk is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaGirl View Post
I would not suggest a foursome.

Why can't it be a dinner/movie date with this couple to "try it on" in a safe way if you want to try a small Opening? End it with a hug/kiss good night and then take time out to digest it.

Why does it have to be just leaping into group sex because this couple propositioned you in the past? Can you see how over the top that can seem?
GG
GG, you make some good points that I had not considered. There is, however, some information that you don't have: The other couple, let's call them Laura and Greg, have been very good friends of ours for the last 10 years. My wife and I are close mutual friends of Laura's and we all go out all the time. We have also been doing a sort of date night wife/husband swap.

Laura and I enjoy steak, so we go out together often since our significant others don't enjoy that. Greg and my wife go to "wing night" since Laura and I don't care for that. This has been working well and Laura is a great friend to me and is the individual I have mentioned in the past that has 4 kids. She and I have shared enough dates that my comfort level with her is high and she has expressed interest in me as more than friends, though she tempers that with the realization that her friendship with my wife complicates things.

That said, I can see how my wife may see that as less than appealing. I just felt like it might be a good fit because of the existing comfort level (for me) and mutual attraction. I am certainly curious, but need to do alot more research and reading before I would ever move forward. I will be looking into several of the referenced books from this thread and others I am following.
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  #55  
Old 12-24-2012, 08:51 AM
amk amk is offline
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Originally Posted by cherry88 View Post
hey amk. i just want to say hi and commiserate just because it sounds like what you are going through is so close to what i am. just i can really understand how you feel right now and wanted offer some empathy!
WOW. When I was reading this, it was almost as if I was reading my own personal journal of feelings. With only slight nuances of difference, it seems as though we are dealing with very similar circumstances.

Thank you for your post, it is comforting to hear that I am not the only one feeling this way (my brain knows it, but it's still nice to hear!). I feel really lost right now and I'm struggling to make sense of my feelings.

You mentioned that he seems to feel guilty for hurting you and that is so similar to what my wife has told me. She says she can't help how she feels, but wishes she didn't hurt me so badly. I guess I feel guilt, too. I want to be her perfect partner in life, but it feels like I'm just not the right fit anymore.

It seems like you've got about a month lead on me, but it also sounds like it hasn't gotten too much easier. You said your BF moved forward without your knowledge and I have to admit, that sounds dishonest and I would not have responded well to it, were it me. My wife is waiting (less than patiently) for me to decide what I can handle, if anything. If she had moved forward without my knowledge or permission, she would be on her own for sure.

What you said about mourning the old relationship is absolutely true! I spent a week just thinking about what we once had and how she was throwing it all away for some fling... it was crushing.

Feel free to PM with more if you want to talk, vent or further commiserate; it's welcome. I appreciate you posting!
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  #56  
Old 12-24-2012, 10:59 AM
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rory rory is offline
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It sounds like this is a crisis, a turning point in your relationship. I've had a few of those during my longer relationship (8 years), and they are scary as hell. I think, when you are together with somebody for a long time, life goes on and both partners feel like they know each other, while really they are changing in smaller or bigger ways all the time. And then you come to the point, where one party realises , "wow, I've changed and there is this want/need I now have that is not met in my current relationship".

It is scary for both, because you're looking at each other and seeing all the ways in which, all of a sudden, you are different and potentially incompatible unless those can be breached. It feels like you are staring right into the very concrete prospect of the relationship being over. And the crisis demands change, which is also scary, and yet the biggest danger to the relationship is if nothing is done, because the want/need will continue to be unmet, and the resentment will cause unhappiness and strain the relationship.

So, I think it's great that you are thinking about how to get to a place where you can both be happy. It is also great that you are trying to communicate in a constructive way. It seems your wife is also trying. Both of you are human, and with the crisis and fear, it is difficult work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amk View Post
She never seems to want to discuss anything I'm interested in. It's nearly always all about her (which is a polar switch to a year ago). After 12 years, it's really destructive to my self-esteem to have my absolute best friend in the world no longer expressing the same compassion, empathy, desire and love (seemingly) as she used to.

I have often sacrificed or stifled my own desires for that of my family. I think the results of that over the last 12 years are crashing down upon me now.
What I hear here is maybe something of a silver lining with this crisis - something that might be underlying some of the problems, and which could be addressed to make both happier. It sounds to me that both of you might have some people pleasing tendencies. In your case, this is evident in that you say you have stifled your own desires for your family. This is not uncommon, but in the end, it may not be the most beneficial thing. It may make you a caring, selfless partner and parent, but sacrificing your wants will also lead to feelings of resentment/entitlement it does sound like you are experiencing. Feelings of "unfairness" of it all.

In your wife's case, paradoxically, it is all the behaviours you describe that make me think that she has also operated in this kind of selfless way. Not just because she used to take you into consideration before, but also because she has done this uncharacteristic u-turn that (at times) makes you feel she doesn't want to listen to or consider you. I will try to explain this further.

I've been very strongly socialised, as a kid, to please the people I love. This is something that makes me a very flexible person in general, because my default reaction in situations is that I am happy when other people are happy. Strangely, it is also something that can make a person act in quite unfair ways in specific situations, particularly if they don't recognise the people pleasing tendencies and start work to actively managing them.

When you are socialised to please, you put aside your own desires for those of your loved one - in a romantic relationship that is your partner. Crucially, this is not something they have asked of you. While you don't see it, you are not actually doing anybody any favours. Because you don't express your own desires, your partner has no possibility to meet them. Also, for the same reason, your partner has no idea about the want you sacrifice for your partner/relationship. You feel like, since you've been so good and sacrificed so much, you should be appreciated more. Whereas, they may not notice that sacrifice at all since they never knew it wasn't something you wanted.

To the unfair part, which may go some way in explaining why, suddenly, your wife isn't interested in what you want. The stronger the tendency you have for defaulting to pleasing others, the more difficult it is to recognise or express what you want. But sometimes, there is something that you need so badly. You try to push it down, try to sacrifice it like your other desires, but when it is something so strong, this becomes impossible. In this situation, it becomes clear that this is something you have to have, period. You just can't be without it. But since you have no tools for reasonable negotiation (since you pretty much never express wants when they aren't that urgent), and this need feels so pressing, you move to the opposite end. Instead of asking for what you want, you inform your partner that this is how it will be.

I have done this. I'm not proud of it, but I can honestly say that, at the time, I saw no way to get what I needed except demanding it (not poly-related). It is also about lack of practice in enforcing boundaries: you don't trust yourself to pursue what you want/need if you don't make it very clear that this is something you will get, end of story. You are afraid you will be talked out of it. You are afraid that your partner won't understand/respect it: not because some fault you see in them, but because you've practically never expressed a want so that you'd have evidence of how they will react. And somewhere really deep down it feels like you're the most selfish person to want/need this thing (or anything at all). Even if, logically, you don't think that, this belief makes it so difficult to ask for anything.

After one starts to manage the people pleasing, it doesn't immediately get easier to ask for what you want. Rather, it is something you force yourself to do despite of how it makes you feel.

I've gone on about that, because it's been significant to me. Hope it helps (might want to share with your wife and ask her if she feels it is something she can relate to or not). I can go on and on (as can be seen ), it's just complex stuff to try to describe. Please ask me to elaborate if anything feels unclear. On to one other thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amk View Post
I realized that I had been far too dependent on my wife for my own emotional stability and self esteem- thus why I was feeling clingy. Having identified the problem and after proactively engaging a solution, I have already noticed results. My wife isn't as annoyed when I'm around and seeks me out to spend time with me (after only 5 days). So, I'm on the road to a better more self-sustained me. Perhaps this is all for my betterment.
This is excellent stuff. Definitely something that will be a huge improvement for you and your relationship. Keep it up!
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Last edited by rory; 12-24-2012 at 11:04 AM.
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  #57  
Old 12-24-2012, 06:19 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is online now
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Ok, thanks for more info.

So since you have been going out as friends already and you have a crush on the Laura person, I could see where you would suggest you deepening that. But that's still deepening YOU AND LAURA's relationship. Not everyone jump into group sex!

What is your WIFE after here? Swinging? She sounded keen on sexual adventures and willing for you to have them too, but not so keen when the Laura person pops up as a potential for you. Then it's in the land of "real relationship" for wife and not a swing thing? Is that the objection?

What are YOU after here? Monoamory? Monogamy? Willingness to explore polyamory but not swinging?

I still think you guys could get each of your wants, needs, and limits articulated well. What are hard limits -- that will never change? What are soft limits that could change in time? What are you willing to tolerate? What are you not willing to tolerate? What are the dealbreakers?

Maybe even get it all written down on paper. Then compare and see what, if any, lines up or not.

Opening the marriage does not mean Open on her end of things only and your remain monoamorous and monogamous to her (Unless this is what you wish for yourself) or that you keep it to "swing only" because that's what she can handle or would prefer you do.

It is one thing for YOU to decide for yourself what you want in your romances. It is another for HER to make unilateral decisions for the couple and you have no voice at all in the things that concern you

It is your marriage too -- it concerns you. Future relationships you are in -- that concerns you. You guys could face some heavy boundaries issues in future if you don't get that sorted out.

As you to sort yourselves out, you could consider doing it much slower. This kind of pacing alarms me:
  • Early this year (2012), she approached me and told me that she had feelings for a male coworker and that she needed to tell me about it. I was completely devestated. My entire world seemed to be crashing down.
  • 4 months later, she told me that she wasn't happy, she didn't know why and wasn't sure she wanted to be married anymore. By this point, I was completely destroyed. My heart was broken and I didn't know what to do. She assured me that she would try to figure her feelings out before making any decisions. The relationship was tenuous at best and I had to get myself into counseling. I was near suicidal.
  • Dec 1 ish: we were talking and she told me that she thinks she's figured out what she wants. She went on to explain that life is short and she wants to experience things with other men that aren't me. She told me she loves me more than anyone else, but that she didn't see love and sex as being the same thing. (implied: she wants to swing)
  • 12/04 you open this thread.
  • 12/05 intense talk with wife
  • 12/07 you "lose it" from the stress of probs with your mom and then probs with wife. Wife also sees doc and gets bad news.
  • "Just over a week since news" somewhere she sees the neuro and is ok, and you guys go back to talking about Opening
  • 12/22 you bring up the foursome and wife is not happy on that suggestion. Is is because it is not a swing thing but a relationship deepening thing then?

Have you been able to find a counselor? When you were near suicidal at the start of the year -- I am concerned this break neck speed is no good for your own mental health. You are already in a tough line of work (police)!

You have to put your own oxygen mask on first here.

Galagirl
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  #58  
Old 12-25-2012, 06:34 PM
amk amk is offline
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Default Understood.

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Originally Posted by GalaGirl View Post
What are YOU after here? Monoamory? Monogamy? Willingness to explore polyamory but not swinging?
I don't know. I am still confused and have no clue what I want, what I can handle and how it might all work. I don't even know the difference of some of the terms you just threw out there...lol

When I brought up group sex with the other couple, I was merely talking about it as something I could possibly handle, to start. I had no intention of doing anything soon. I already told my wife that I am in no hurry to agree to anything, since it's all very fresh. My timeline is 6 months to a year before I think I will be ready. I need to work on me and I know it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GalaGirl View Post
Have you been able to find a counselor? When you were near suicidal at the start of the year -- I am concerned this break neck speed is no good for your own mental health. You are already in a tough line of work (police)!
I already had a counselor from earlier this year. Unfortunately, the holidays sort of began right around the time my wife came to me with everything and my counselor hasn't been available and won't be until the second week of Jan.

Til then, I sort of do self maintenance by keeping busy, not dwelling on things and keeping a good attitude.
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  #59  
Old 12-25-2012, 07:22 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is online now
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Glad to hear you aren't planning anything any time soon -- but don't be surprised if you need more time than 6-12 mos. You have a lot going on over there and you can't put a time marker on "By this date I will feel x" because feelings just are. They do not follow a time table.

In my way of definitions?

Monoamory = ability or desire to love only one at a time.
polyamory = ability to love more than one at time
swinging = where singles or committed partners engage in casual, recreational sex with other people. It is one type of open model.

I don't know if this would help you:

They are all articles on the index pages I listed in a previous post, but I know it is a lot to look at.

Maybe starting with those would be helpful in sorting yourself out? Before you try to articulate to wife?

GL!
GG

Last edited by GalaGirl; 12-25-2012 at 07:25 PM.
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  #60  
Old 12-28-2012, 12:55 AM
amk amk is offline
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Default From Worse to Better Days

After a fairly rough week leading up to Christmas, my wife and I had a very enjoyable Christmas Day. Christmas morning was the typical onslaught of wrapping paper, coffee and my wife and I enjoying the little bit of magic that is left for our 10 year old (he's not sure he still believes).

I spent the day preparing our feast and later, Laura, Greg and the whole family came for dinner. Dinner turned out wonderful (Laura brought half the food/desserts). Unfortunately, everyone was sick (this has been a nasty winter for illnesses in the Northeast US) and tired from the day's events which put a damper on the evening.

I had an extremely bad night at work both because of work and because I was having trouble turning off my neurotic brain. I was lucky, Laura was still awake and messaged me back and forth for several hours. I had been feeling very dejected- like giving up and just running away from all of this. My wife really hasn't been terribly attentive to me and that's been tough to deal with. Laura helped calm me down, give me perspective and even made me laugh here and there.

During the conversation, it came up that I had been using this site for both research and as an outlet. Laura asked to see it and I was hesitant. These are some of my most personal thoughts, some of which are about Laura. After some deliberation, I let her read it, but I almost immediately regretted it. I was very embarrassed. Nonetheless, Laura read everything and encouraged me. She said I shouldn't be embarrassed and that she appreciated learning more about how I feel.

I guess in a way it was nice to have someone that knows me read all these things I've been feeling and thinking for the past month. It doesn't hurt that she's giving me some attention (innocent and friendly) while my wife is ignoring me.

I'm going to call last night an overall good night. I'm in a better place tonight and I'm not dwelling on the negativity. I still have thoughts of just running from all this, but I am going to stick around and figure it out.

Last edited by amk; 12-28-2012 at 05:34 AM.
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