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Old 03-12-2013, 01:58 AM
ConfusedBryan ConfusedBryan is offline
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Default Here goes. new tactic after affair

I have been with my wife for 18 years, 11 of which are married. I have three kids, ages 8, 6, and 3. As of a month ago, I caught my wife in affair with someone she considered a good friend. When I confronted her about it, she said that our relationship had felt stagnant for a long time, and while she considered us good friends and good parents, the romance was not there. She thought I felt the same way, that we had grown apart.

Through much discussion and my own personal emotional roller coaster, we sought marriage counseling. The counselor during the inital session said that the process to get over this and move on was to break all ties with this man; as well as to just be unhappy and fake about the way she feels toward me and that will help us get through it.

Well, she is not willing to do that, nor am I. She has said that she is confused about the way she feels, and needs time to sort out herself.

Likewise, she is concerned that I am doing this to make it work when I may not have true feelings of love toward her, just feelings now that this affair has happened. When we look back on our relationship, I can agree that I have not shown her the love I now feel, or want to feel from her. She has told me several times in the past that she was unhappy and I changed for a short periods of time, but always reverted back to our normal rut. And plus having three kids, things get in the way and our relationship has always been pushed aside..

We have come to the decision to try an open marriage, for both of our benefits. She can pursue this man and find out if this is just something that is short term or something she has been missing for so long. I will try to see what is out there, with the hopes of seeing if I find someone that truly makes me happy enough to want to do the things my wife has been wanting from me for so long, or not.

Sounds like a separation, but we are continuing to be friends, live together, sleep together (sans sex), parent our kids, and carry on our normal lives. We are still in the inital planning stages of setting up the rules and boundaries, and this is the part where I'm not too sure of what to do, what I want to know, and how this should all play out. I am someone who needs a plan.
She has several friends that have open relationships and are very happy with continuing in this direction.

This is all very new to me, and scary, but is a better alternative to a hasty divorce that will affect the lives of three children in the least.
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  #2  
Old 03-12-2013, 02:47 AM
bobcat725 bobcat725 is offline
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Default similar to you... we are trying the same.... but slightly different

Hi -
First, I'm sorry that an affair took place. It's always really difficult when honest communication was not explored from the beginning. Trust becomes an issue and it's hard to backtrack on that.

Same thing with us (I would be your wife in this scenario), but my husband and I talked _before_ an affair took place (because he sensed it would eventually).

I have no profound words of wisdom, as we are still new to having an "open" marriage. We have two kids (10 and 8). But I will say that it will take a long time for things to settle into your new "normal" and it will require oodles of open communication and patience and understanding. You will go through the gamut of gut-wrenching emotions. Things will feel pretty good, and then you may feel the rug just got pulled out from underneath you. This is going to take a long time.

Find a poly / open-relationship friendly counselor. That is one thing I would highly recommend. It sounds like your current therapist will just try to steer you both back to conventional monogamy - and it may be all that person knows in the scheme of how they were educated / brought up / taught to believe. And that won't be good for you and your wife since you've decided to embark on an open marriage path.

I think it's great that you both want to raise your kids as one unit (not divorce), and are exploring a way to do that while also trying to fulfill your relationship needs in a respectful way.

We are doing that, too (but unlike you, my husband and I are primary to each other and still enjoy each other emotionally and sexually).

My first reading resource was "The Ethical Slut" - I found it very informative and it gave me hope. I am currently reading "Non-Violent Communication" based on a recommendation from some poly friends (just started, so have not formed an opinion yet). And peruse this forum. You'll find some great insights here with lots of people sharing from their experiences. Good luck! -D
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  #3  
Old 03-12-2013, 03:00 AM
ConfusedBryan ConfusedBryan is offline
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Thanks, still feeling alone and left to my own struggle with what's going on in my head. Plus the whole going out to meet someone is nerve racking, and well, terrifying. It still is uncomfortable to know she will be going out with another man, tomorrow, while I am at home trying to not obsess about it.
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Old 03-12-2013, 03:15 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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I am confused. Are you and wife still wanting to be lovers, or moving it over to companionate love and letting go of being lovers? Be more like married parenting friends?

Lover needs which would now be met by other people in an open marriage only? Or you are lovers AND have other lovers?

The shape you are aiming for helps frame the boundaries. So not being clear on what shape this is makes it hard.

Quote:
When I confronted her about it, she said that our relationship had felt stagnant for a long time, and while she considered us good friends and good parents, the romance was not there. She thought I felt the same way, that we had grown apart.
She just thought you felt that way too but did not ASK you to know for sure? Why this emotional distance between you?

Quote:
She has said that she is confused about the way she feels, and needs time to sort out herself.
Fair enough.

Quote:
Likewise, she is concerned that I am doing this to make it work when I may not have true feelings of love toward her, just feelings now that this affair has happened.
What behaviors do you need to demonstrate to her for her to recognize that you do indeed love her?

And do you love her?

And is she still willing to receive these behaviors from you or not interested any more? Like too little too late? Better to friend zone it?


Quote:
When we look back on our relationship, I can agree that I have not shown her the love I now feel, or want to feel from her.
Again.... what behaviors need to be done/not done then. By you and by her to sustain the relationship.

Quote:
She has told me several times in the past that she was unhappy and I changed for a short periods of time, but always reverted back to our normal rut. And plus having three kids, things get in the way and our relationship has always been pushed aside.
So when you tapered off... did she call you into account? Was she holding her end of the stick in tending to the marriage or expecting you to carry it all?

There could be an attitude change -- sometimes in parenting we're so focussed on meeting the kid wants, needs, and limits that we shoosh our own to the side.

It could be a new attitude of "We must MAKE the time to spend together as a couple. With children, it won't just come from the air automatically. And the children need fit parents so OUR fitness has to come first. Put our own oxygen mask on first."

Quote:
We have come to the decision to try an open marriage, for both of our benefits. She can pursue this man and find out if this is just something that is short term or something she has been missing for so long. I will try to see what is out there, with the hopes of seeing if I find someone that truly makes me happy enough to want to do the things my wife has been wanting from me for so long, or not.
That implies you withheld loving, kind behaviors your wife wanted from you for so long because what?

You were not happy with the wife?
You put the kids ahead of the wife instead of the wife ahead of the kids?
You were depressed? Distracted? Took her for granted?
Something else?

Just some thoughts you could think about and bring up in counseling as you make your new boundaries and agreements. A poly friend counselor could help -- you guys may want to think about changing to one.

Galagirl
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  #5  
Old 03-12-2013, 11:20 AM
ConfusedBryan ConfusedBryan is offline
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"I am confused. Are you and wife still wanting to be lovers, or moving it over to companionate love and letting go of being lovers? Be more like married parenting friends?

Lover needs which would now be met by other people in an open marriage only? Or you are lovers AND have other lovers? "

I guess we are in two different places, with me still wanting to be lovers, but exploring out there to find out if I do truely love her or is there someone out there that makes that love come "naturally" from me. She wants to put on hold our intimate relationship and explore this other dude to see if this is the same way.

"And is she still willing to receive these behaviors from you or not interested any more? Like too little too late? Better to friend zone it?"

She is not very willing at this point, and it is the too little too late, but there is a chance to reconnect after we see if the grass is greener kind of thing.

"So when you tapered off... did she call you into account? Was she holding her end of the stick in tending to the marriage or expecting you to carry it all? "

She did many times, and she was always tending to our relationship, but I feel that I was not, and I partially think that I just don't know how to do that, not that it supposed to come naturally.

"You were not happy with the wife?
You put the kids ahead of the wife instead of the wife ahead of the kids?
You were depressed? Distracted? Took her for granted?
Something else?"

I was happy with her, but felt I didn't get the intimacy I now know I really want. She always told me that I need to romance her for the entire day to get what I want, and lots of times I did that with no return on my investment. It made me stop doing that.

I did put the kids ahead of the wife, but I never forgot about her. Except for the major events in our life, like her birthdays, and anniversaries. (being honest - I always was at a loss when it came time to plan or do things for those occasions)

Depressed? Distracted? Took her for granted?

Yes, Yes, and Yes. And now I am regretting that in myself for doing that.

Thanks for all the input and support.
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  #6  
Old 03-12-2013, 12:10 PM
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Emm Emm is offline
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"Relationship broken, add people" is unlikely to work. If you insist on making inroads into poly before repairing your marital relationship then please make sure you disclose early to any potential partners that that's what they're signing up for. They have the right to protect themselves.
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Old 03-12-2013, 03:09 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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I gotta go with Emm -- when things are broken is not the best time to Open. Open will magnify every crack there is.

If there is emotional distance between you NOW, adding more people to the mix to take up slots in your time management, when you already agree the kids hog up a bunch of time and there's 24 hrs in a day limit? I do not see what time you are making yet to spend with only each other to rebuild and reconnect.

I see the potential for even more disconnect.

Quote:
She is not very willing at this point, and it is the too little too late, but there is a chance to reconnect after we see if the grass is greener kind of thing.
I cannot say I want to be my spouse's "Well, I shopped around. There's nothing better out there so I guess I have to make do with you."

You have Identified some of the problems... on your end anyway. Distracted, depressed, not as present in the marriage as you could have been in the past, etc.
If you are willing to work on those and BE HERE in the marriage, is she willing?

And have you talked about what happens if you choose to Open and bumps in the road are hit? How will those be solved?

Quote:
I was happy with her, but felt I didn't get the intimacy I now know I really want. She always told me that I need to romance her for the entire day to get what I want, and lots of times I did that with no return on my investment. It made me stop doing that.
What is "intimacy" there? Sex? Physical intimacy? The heart share of emotional intimacy? Mental intimacy? Soul intimacy?

If you romance her all day as she requests, and you perceive there's "no return on your investment" because she thought you were sharing "emotional intimacy and heart share" and that happened already and you are after "sex and body intimacy" -- maybe there's communication problems to solve?

Quote:
She did many times, and she was always tending to our relationship, but I feel that I was not, and I partially think that I just don't know how to do that, not that it supposed to come naturally.
Did you ask for what behaviors she wants you to do/not do? Do you fail to do them or she fails to delineate them or wants you to be a mind reader?

What interpersonal skills do you think you are lacking?

Quote:
I did put the kids ahead of the wife, but I never forgot about her. Except for the major events in our life, like her birthdays, and anniversaries. (being honest - I always was at a loss when it came time to plan or do things for those occasions)
If at a loss... could not ask her what she would like? Is it that she wants to be surprised? Could she put 3 things on her amazon list and tell you to surprise her with one of the things? Do you both know each other's love languages? Because if you are a "touch" person and need lots of touching and she's a "gifts" person -- could try to treat the other the way they respond to best.

Platinum rule -- could attempt to treat the other guy they way THEY want to be treated. Not golden rule. That's treating people how you like to be treated. That only happens to work if both of you happen to like the same things.

Just some thoughts. Not sure if it could help any. Hang in there!

Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 03-12-2013 at 03:14 PM.
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Old 03-12-2013, 03:55 PM
ConfusedBryan ConfusedBryan is offline
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Quote:
If you are willing to work on those and BE HERE in the marriage, is she willing?
Right at this moment, she needs a break. After the affair was found out, I went over the top to try to make up for lost time. All that did was push her away. We talked and we decided that we are realy good friends, and good parents, but this other guy has made an emotional connection with her that she wants to explore, without doing anything rash like divorce and putting the kids through that if thats not the right decision. If bumps in the road are hit, we are trying to keep an open and honest relationship through all of this.

Quote:
What is "intimacy" there? Sex? Physical intimacy? The heart share of emotional intimacy? Mental intimacy? Soul intimacy?

If you romance her all day as she requests, and you perceive there's "no return on your investment" because she thought you were sharing "emotional intimacy and heart share" and that happened already and you are after "sex and body intimacy" -- maybe there's communication problems to solve?
My intimacy needs "were" mostly physical, and that was never up to the expectations I wanted. Hers was just the opposite, emotional, soul. There are definately communication problems, and we already know that, and are working on that now.

Quote:
Did you ask for what behaviors she wants you to do/not do? Do you fail to do them or she fails to delineate them or wants you to be a mind reader?

What interpersonal skills do you think you are lacking?
She has told me in the past what she wants, and has hinted around many times also. I am thick-headed and didn't hear those things and take them to heart. My fault which I need to work on. I really don't think I know how to be a good lover. Something I need to work on, which is what I am exploring in this open thing, I guess.
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Old 03-12-2013, 07:33 PM
ConfusedBryan ConfusedBryan is offline
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There are several things you stated which I need to clarify.

Quote:
If you are willing to work on those and BE HERE in the marriage, is she willing?
Right now she needs time to figure out who she is. We have been actively talking, and have through open and honest communication, continue to work on our relationship, but have decided to explore outside of our marriage for the things she is lacking emotionally, and for myself the exploration of if what I feel towards her is real.

We are different people, with different needs. She is very social, and looks for emotional feelings, where as I am more introverted and in need of more physical, but lately have needed more emotionally.

Quote:
id you ask for what behaviors she wants you to do/not do? Do you fail to do them or she fails to delineate them or wants you to be a mind reader?

What interpersonal skills do you think you are lacking?
She has always been open with what she has wanted, but I have been too thick-headed to make them sink in. I also don't think that I know how to love. She believes that should come naturally.

This thread continues to be very helpful. Please keep the comments going.
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  #10  
Old 03-12-2013, 08:47 PM
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kdt26417 kdt26417 is offline
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Hi Bryan,
Glad to have you on our forum.

You have to find out what works for you, it's not always the same as what works for others. Along those lines, a poly-friendly counselor could be helpful. It doesn't sound like that first counselor was poly-friendly.

At the same time, it's only the ethical thing to do to let new outside partners know that they are kind of signing up for an experiment of sorts, and that your marriage is in a state of limbo.

I'd personally recommend working on your marriage at the same time, and becoming Love-Language savvy could be a good place to start. But, your wife has to be willing to make marital efforts too, and right now it sounds like she's reluctant to do that.

Re:
Quote:
"I also don't think that I know how to love. She believes that should come naturally."
Perhaps it comes naturally in the initial NRE stages. After that, there's work involved.

That's my take on it, anyway.
Regards,
Kevin T.
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