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  #1  
Old 04-21-2013, 02:33 AM
russianmario russianmario is offline
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Hello all! I am relatively new to polyamory and need some advice. Here is a quick overview of my situation:
I have been in a relationship with my wife, A, for over eight years (we started dating monogamously in high school). She was my first girlfriend and I am still very much in love with her. But! Over the past five years or so, I have developed romantic feelings for my best friend, K (also female). I have tried for a long time to ignore these feelings - I didn't think they were moral and I didn't want anything to happen to my relationship with my wife. Finally, probably five months ago, I discovered polyamory and it helped me come to terms with my feelings really better understand myself. About three months ago I told A about polyamory and my feelings for K (who, I should mention, is also my wife's best friend). My wife took it hard at first - she very much believes in monogamous relationships and I think it was just hard for her to understand that my feelings for her had not changed. After about a month of talking it out, we decided it was best for me to tell K, if for no other reason than to allow me to move on.
That's when everything went to hell. K feels I betrayed her trust and she feels victimized. Despite me trying to explain polyamory to her, she does not understand how it isn't cheating on A.
To make matters worse, K currently lives 4 hours away! I have not had an actual conversation with K for two months. She had also just started to date someone for the first time in several years, so my timing there wasn't great. I tried to explain that I wasn't looking for a relationship right at the moment - I was only looking to either affirm my feelings for her or work on getting over thinking of her in a romantic way.
Because she lives so far away from all of her family and friends, she also felt I isolated her because I had people to talk to about 'the situation'. Because I had just discovered my polyamorous tendencies, I asked her not to talk to our other close friends right away - this didn't help either because she felt more isolated.
Finally (a couple weeks ago), she told me that if things were going to get better, she had to talk to the fourth main member of our group about this. I wanted things to get better - for her and me both - so I said I was ok with it. Now, A and I have to explain to everyone in our group (because now everyone knows) what polyamory is and why it doesn't mean that A is leaving me. A is really upset with the women in our group because now they are all questioning why she's staying with me.

Ok. I probably (most definitely) left out some major plot points, but hopefully you have enough to give me some advice:

Q1) Does the community consider it 'coming out' when you have to explain to people that you are polyamorous?
Q2) A couple of my friends are conservative Christians, and although they say that's not an issue, it most certainly seems like they are taking this pretty hard. Any advice on how to explain how this is ethical non-monogamy?
Q3) I don't think this is going to gain me any points with the group but how do I explain that this is a lifestyle choice and not a sexual orientation? (Or have I got that wrong?)

I'll probably have more questions, but that's enough for now. Thank you for your help in advance
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Old 04-23-2013, 01:22 AM
JaneQSmythe JaneQSmythe is offline
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Hello and welcome to the forums - I'm sorry it's because you are in a difficult spot.

From reading your post -

You are married and have been in a monogamous relationship with your wife.
You developed feeling for you best friend.
You tried to suppress the feelings, that didn't work, and you discovered the idea of polyamory
You were honest and disclosed these feeling to you wife and your best friend.
All hell broke loose...

Quote:
Originally Posted by russianmario View Post
Finally, probably five months ago, I discovered polyamory and it helped me come to terms with my feelings really better understand myself. About three months ago I told A about polyamory and my feelings for K (who, I should mention, is also my wife's best friend). My wife took it hard at first - she very much believes in monogamous relationships and I think it was just hard for her to understand that my feelings for her had not changed. After about a month of talking it out, we decided it was best for me to tell K, if for no other reason than to allow me to move on.
OK, this all sounds fine. You had a conflict within yourself, you found a concept that helped you understand/come to terms with yourself. You were honest with your wife (excellent!) - it was hard but you talked it out (very good!) and came to a decision to share your feelings with K (without expectation that it would necessarily "go" anywhere).

More honesty is more better. Admitting feelings is NOT acting on them. I like that you went to your wife first...and decided together on the best course of action.

Quote:
Originally Posted by russianmario View Post
That's when everything went to hell. K feels I betrayed her trust and she feels victimized. Despite me trying to explain polyamory to her, she does not understand how it isn't cheating on A.
To make matters worse, K currently lives 4 hours away! I have not had an actual conversation with K for two months. She had also just started to date someone for the first time in several years, so my timing there wasn't great. I tried to explain that I wasn't looking for a relationship right at the moment - I was only looking to either affirm my feelings for her or work on getting over thinking of her in a romantic way.
Because she lives so far away from all of her family and friends, she also felt I isolated her because I had people to talk to about 'the situation'. Because I had just discovered my polyamorous tendencies, I asked her not to talk to our other close friends right away - this didn't help either because she felt more isolated.
To be perfectly honest, K's response seems rather out of proportion to your disclosure (unless there is more to the story). You told her that you have feelings for her, you are not looking to pursue a relationship right this second but you thought she should know. You had your wife's support in the decision to disclose you feelings...so what is her major malfunction?

She just started to date someone...fine. She can say to you "I have just started dating someone. Even IF I was interested in this "polyamory" concept - now is not a good time. Sorry. No. Let's just go on being friends." You have your answer and life goes on.

OK. You ask her to be discreet and not talk to mutual friends. Apparently she needs to talk to someone about her conflict about what you have disclosed (reasonable) - she doesn't have any "outside" friends? But feeling "victimized" and "betrayed" because someone likes you? "Shocked" maybe..."surprised" and "caught off guard" - but "VICTIMIZED"? That does seem excessive (to me).

Quote:
Originally Posted by russianmario View Post
Finally (a couple weeks ago), she told me that if things were going to get better, she had to talk to the fourth main member of our group about this. I wanted things to get better - for her and me both - so I said I was ok with it. Now, A and I have to explain to everyone in our group (because now everyone knows) what polyamory is and why it doesn't mean that A is leaving me. A is really upset with the women in our group because now they are all questioning why she's staying with me.
This seems (to me) that this "group" is entirely too caught up in being involved in everyone else's business. So K talked to a 4th person and suddenly everyone in the "group" has a say in your personal life?

Actually, I DO understand...but our group of friends is much more circumspect. They mostly expressed concern that MrS was "really okay" with what was happening - because they care about him. It sucks that your wife has to be the point person, when this wasn't her deal to start with, but the fact is that you haven't DONE ANYTHING WRONG. You had feelings. You were honest with your wife. You talked about stuff.

Quote:
Originally Posted by russianmario View Post
Q1) Does the community consider it 'coming out' when you have to explain to people that you are polyamorous?
Yes, that is a version of coming out. But it wasn't due to your own decisions, so it sucks. You were "outed"...sorry, now you have to deal with the aftermath.


Quote:
Originally Posted by russianmario View Post
Q2) A couple of my friends are conservative Christians, and although they say that's not an issue, it most certainly seems like they are taking this pretty hard. Any advice on how to explain how this is ethical non-monogamy?
Some of them (Xtian or not)will, likely, never be able to make the distinction between ethical non-monogamy and cheating. It just doesn't fit their world-view. Sorry

Quote:
Originally Posted by russianmario View Post
Q3) I don't think this is going to gain me any points with the group but how do I explain that this is a lifestyle choice and not a sexual orientation? (Or have I got that wrong?)
Ah, a much harder question. Some poly's view it as a lifestyle choice and other's feel that it is "hardwired" like a sexual orientation. The jury is still out...(and will likely be "hung" in the end). From my perspective - it doesn't matter, people should be free to structure their relationships as they see fit and it is noone's business but those involved. But I am a bit of an idealist that way...

JaneQ
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MrS: hetero polyflexible male, live-in husband (21+ yrs)
Dude: hetero poly male, live-in boyfriend (3+ yrs) and MrS's best friend
Lotus: poly bi female, "it's complicated" relationships with Dude/JaneQ/MrS (1+ years)
TT: poly bi male, married to Lotus, FB with JaneQ
VV and MsJ: bi-women with male primaries, LTR LDR FWBs to JaneQ


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Last edited by JaneQSmythe; 04-23-2013 at 01:31 AM.
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  #3  
Old 04-23-2013, 02:07 PM
russianmario russianmario is offline
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Thank you for your response. A lot of what you said mirrors exactly my thoughts on the subject (I didn't really expect differently, it's just good to know I'm not alone in thinking this way). My life philosophy is very live-and-let-live, and so when I got this backlash over expressing who I was it was very discouraging.

I'm not sure I have any more to add right now, but this coming weekend the group is getting together to hash everything out. I'm not looking forward to it (neither is A), but it seems like it may be necessary. I will update this thread after that because I'll probably need to vent and look for advice again.
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Old 04-23-2013, 02:55 PM
BoringGuy BoringGuy is offline
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What is this "group"? Is it you, your wife, K, and K's SO? Or is it the other group that has the uptight bible thumpers in it? You keep using this word "group" over and over and the ambiguity of it it weirding me the fuck out.
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Old 04-23-2013, 03:36 PM
russianmario russianmario is offline
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The 'group' is my group of friends. This includes K, A, K's SO, and the conservative Christian couple (A&M). We are close friends from college and for the most part are collectively the closest friends any of us have.

And not trying to be defensive, but A&M are by no means 'bible thumpers.' Their moral guidance is conservative Christianity, but they are not pushy about it and are not a 'church every Sunday' kind of people. Believe me - I grew up in a cult. I know what bible thumpers are :P

Also, sorry about all the initials - I'm not sure how extensively I should be labeling people.
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Old 04-23-2013, 03:56 PM
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AnnabelMore AnnabelMore is offline
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I'm not sure that it's a good idea to involve the other friends when it sounds like you and K (and possibly K's SO) still have things to work out. What does it have to do with them aside from the fact that they are your friends and are curious? It would make more sense to me to work things out with the people directly involved and then provide a (hopefully) more unified front to others. As it is, it sounds like it'll be a gang up on Mario session and what's the point of that? So, you had a crush! Geez! You didn't cheat, you didn't grab her out of the blue and try to kiss her. Unless there's a lot you're leaving out I agree that her feeling victimized seems weirdly over the top, and would even if none of you had ever heard of polyamory.
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Old 04-23-2013, 04:17 PM
russianmario russianmario is offline
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Annabel, I don't disagree with you. I've spent the past two months trying to do everything to explain to K where I am coming from and trying to repair my friendship with her. Unfortunately she sees this as the only way. I'm not happy about it and I'm glad others see it as unreasonable too (my wife and I are both glad - we are both really frustrated with how K has handled this).

My frustrations aside, I still want to make a friendship with K work (she was my closest friend after all), so I'm willing to do what it takes.
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Old 04-23-2013, 04:27 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Let me repeat this back as I understand it, ok? Correct me if I am wrong. The basic story is this:
You talked to your wife honestly about your deep feelings for K and both came to terms with it. And you both were ok with you paying K the compliment of telling K that you care for her deeply. That you don't want to start anything there, but just wanted her to know your feelings and that you hold her in high esteem.

And rather than thank you for the compliment, K took this as unwelcome knowledge? Wanted to unload with other friends which you said was ok with you. So she unloaded. So now your circle of friends is agog because you share your emotional stuff with your wife, you and your wife are good with you caring for others, and you and your wife are good with you expressing your feelings for K and that you hold her in high esteem?
Well, could let them be agog. You and your wife could just be you and your wife together. Just like always.
Quote:
A is really upset with the women in our group because now they are all questioning why she's staying with me.
Friends suggesting to your wife that she is unwise to stay with you just because what? You were open and honest with her about how you feel? Aren't spouses supposed to do that? Be open and honest and disclose?

You and wife could tell the friends that their comments are not appreciated and to stop it. You want to be together and feel spouses should/can tell each other emotional things. You are not a cheating person and are trustworthy. And that is between you and your wife to determine in the marriage, not the circle of friends to dictate from outside the marriage.

Your best friend K freaking out because you disclosed personal information to your best friend K? You could apologize if this compliment came as unwelcome knowledge and has caused her discomfort. It was not intended as such. You could tell her you want to just be friends, and plan to conduct yourself accordingly. She doesn't return the feelings, and she's dating someone else, so now that you know it's not returned you can process and let the feelings die down.

I don't know what to tell you past that other than to just keep on living your life, treat you and your wife well, and let them own their crazy agog.

You paid someone a high compliment and she and your circle of friends wigged out. Time will soothe it back down.

Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 04-23-2013 at 06:06 PM.
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Old 04-23-2013, 05:59 PM
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nancyfore nancyfore is offline
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Why do you need to explain to anyone what you do behind closed doors?? Cant you just tell them its private between my wife and I and your opinions of our lifestyle are not welcome??

Ethical non-monogamy isn't going to be explained away to conservative Christians very easily.. and if they say its a non issue and then act like it is then they aren't really being Christians now are they??? Btw... MANY men had multiple wives in the Bible.. Everyone might need to go re-read parts if it... This is not a new way of life. I realize that polyamory vs polygamy are two separate issues but still this is not a new idea.

I again don't understand why you owe the group any explanation of anything, but you didn't just go from liking women to liking men.. This isn't a sexual orientation change. AND its no one business but yours and your wife's. Quite frankly if they are going to be that judgmental and jump to conclusions and tell your wife to leave you at the drop of a hat, you might need a new group to hang out with. They don't certainly sound like a group of support.

I agree with Galagirl, this will settle down in time.

Nancy
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Old 04-23-2013, 06:10 PM
BoringGuy BoringGuy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by russianmario View Post
The 'group' is my group of friends. This includes K, A, K's SO, and the conservative Christian couple (A&M). We are close friends from college and for the most part are collectively the closest friends any of us have.

And not trying to be defensive, but A&M are by no means 'bible thumpers.' Their moral guidance is conservative Christianity, but they are not pushy about it and are not a 'church every Sunday' kind of people. Believe me - I grew up in a cult. I know what bible thumpers are :P

Also, sorry about all the initials - I'm not sure how extensively I should be labeling people.


Ok, thanks for explaining it to me. I guess i typically associate conservative religious people who get all up in other people's business with "bible-thumping" evangelism. someone doesn't have to literally thump bibles in order to be labeled as one by me. But whatever, i'm over it. It isn't really relevant what i think of them.

I appreciate you explaining what the "group" is. You SHOULD talk about this with the 4 of you together. But leave those other two people out of it. This is none of their business, even if they have decided that it is and you don't have the nerve to tell them to butt out. This would be true even if they were atheists, pagans, satan worshippers, or Jewish.
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