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  #11  
Old 08-01-2013, 11:35 PM
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LovingRadiance LovingRadiance is offline
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Thumbs up to both of those caveats.
Relationships take both parties making a concerted effort.



And you are absolutely dead on with the touch/sex.
I am HIGHLY sexual and have a physical need for that daily. But hubby, whose love language is physical touch, needs sex a cpl times a week and he is satisfied.

Its important for me to NOT make physical affection always lead to sex and important for him to "lead it to sex" for me lol.

Likewise, my bf, he is a touchy feely person with no demand at all for sex. He is happy to do whatever needed to get me off, but rarely strives for his own sexual release. But he thrives on cuddles.

Touch is a tricky one.
But great relationships are tricky too.
Like chess versus checkers.

Poly dynamics are like 3-D chess.
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  #12  
Old 08-02-2013, 12:16 AM
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Marcus Marcus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willowstar View Post
He is very much a Gift person with strong leanings for Physical Touch as well. I am aware that not giving him this right now is hard for him. I am also having a problem with the amount of touch he wants.
It's good to know how people best receive the message that we love them. If one kind of expression is just as natural to us as another, and one of them is better received by our partner then it makes sense to express that way instead.

What is *not* good is to adopt a method of expression which is not natural for us. I get the impression that you are functioning with this reality in mind, I just wanted to reinforce it for the cheap seats. It's good to know what people want - and it's good to be an adult and realize that this is life and we don't always get what we want.

Quote:
Originally Posted by willowstar View Post
His boundaries were becoming inappropriate, and so I felt as though it was important, for our relationship to survive, for me to set the boundaries more clearly, and ask him to just STOP. Even after telling him that sex was off the table for a little while, he continued to try and touch my breasts, put his hands on my ass, and basically just disregard entirely everything I was asking him to do.
This might be one of the things that couples counseling can help with. There is clearly a message sent - message received error going on here. Dealing with critical breakdown in sending and receiving messages to each other is the *one* thing I think couples counseling can address.

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Originally Posted by dingedheart
I start there layout the roommate plan
Not to keep hammering on this reality, because you [OP] are no doubt aware that it is around the corner, but you really might start to shift your efforts to "how to live our new roommate lives".

There is absolutely nothing wrong with redefining the nature of your relationship because there has been a fundamental shift. Or, in your case, the loss of ability to suppress who you are which necessarily changes how your relationship with this man will work. Maybe this discussion can be better facilitated by said couples counselor?
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  #13  
Old 08-02-2013, 12:43 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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I'm sorry to hear you are struggling. Glad to hear you are arranging counseling though. That's a good step.

Quote:
Now that sex has been taken off the table, we have been unable to find other ways for him to feel like we are still connected and in a good place. He constantly feels rejected and as though "He doesnt belong in my life"...
So what are you suggestions to meet connection needs in the marriage?

What are his connection to meet connection needs in the marriage?

Could he articulate the connections needs with need type words? Could you?

Quote:
He is very much a Gift person with strong leanings for Physical Touch as well. I am aware that not giving him this right now is hard for him. I am also having a problem with the amount of touch he wants.
If he was not respecting limits, it's good you put the firmer rules down. Just because he's a spouse doesn't mean he gets to paw you over willy nilly without obtaining consent. That's fresh!

If he needs more touch in his life -- do you have pets? A dog? Anything like that? Could that be something to think about? Fostering animals if you don't want a permanent pet?

What about appropriate hug attention for the children or the elders in your lives? Hugs for both kids and seniors is not the same as a lover, but it doesn't hurt. Seniors esp as they age lose partners and family and friends and don't get a lot of touch any more or need extra help moving around, getting things from up high, etc.

Maybe he wants to volunteer in places like animal shelters or senior centers. Give him a sense of value/purpose outside of "Willow's partner" as well as engage "touch" in the work.

At the very least -- think about going for a walk more often. Exercise is an underused antidepressant.

Since he wants to date and find a GF - what's that solve for him? Does he say? What's the main objection there for you? (I could guess... but I kinda want to hear your POVs. Maybe that would give clues to alternatives?)

Sex releases a lot of feel good hormones -- and if he's in the habit of sex as a pacifier -- could he be doing the suffering withdrawal thing? If he's never learned to self -soothe that's another layer here?

In case you haven't read them and if they might help:

http://www.cat-and-dragon.com/stef/p.../jealousy.html
http://www.practicalpolyamory.com/im...ed_10-6-10.pdf
http://www.kathylabriola.com/article...u-in-poly-hell

Have you considered some of this is stages of grief? He's feeling real loss and mourning for what used to be between you -- the monogamous marriage? Maybe he'd be ok in the end, but he's just has to do his mourning time first and needs mourning support / help realizing this IS a mourning time and NOT the end of the world or the marriage?

Is he doing self-respecting behaviors or self-disrespecting behaviors? Could he do MORE self-respecting behavior to help improve his self-esteem? What are his thinking patterns like? Is he his own bully in there? That could be things to bring up in counseling.
Quote:

We have an appointment with a counselor next week to begin therapy, which we probably should have done months ago. We will do what we can to try and save our marriage. I am hoping she will have some new tricks for us.
"Save our marriage" is not a mission or a goal. It is a possible outcome. The way you write it makes it sound like a shared want. I will assume it is a shared want -- so then things aren't hopeless here. You sound more stuck on the HOW to go from point A to point B and first defining better what point B IS.

"we would really like to keep our family intact if we can." That doesn't define WHAT shapes "intact family" could be that are acceptable. Or HOW to achieve them. Could better refine that.

"He says he wants to embrace it" Ok -- so it is not a lack of willing but a lack of tools/support then? Again the HOW of it? Oercoming obstacles in the way of it? WHAT are the obstacles? How can they be removed? That could figure in your strategy somewhere.

Could keep talking and figure it all out -- ID all the little pieces first. JUST ID.

Could then organize thoughts and pieces with the counselor to figure out what exactly you both are dealing with here, what the overall mission is going to be, then set up the goals, then set up the behaviors to support the goals to be doing/not doing. Which in turn move your closer to meeting the mission.

You don't need *a* plan. You need a collection of plans to fix all the little broken bits and address all the needs in an organized way. A strategy.

Then it is broken down to behavior done/not done for his "to do" list and yours. Things you can actually execute. With some check points in there with the counselor to see how both are holding up their ends of the deal. If plans need adjustments and tweak along the way or what.

Then when the final checkpoint comes you can assess if the state of the marriage is improved or not. "Saved" or not. Or close enough so where both parties want to keep investing in it a bit more.

You guys can do this if both are willing. Better if both are willing and ABLE already, but at the very least both are WILLING to try. If not both ABLE at this point, then part of the strategy will have to include a plan for getting the skills to BECOME able.

"ABLE" can be solved. "Willingness" is either a "yes" or "no." So... could determine the willingness of both partners at counseling.

Just loose thoughts in case they help any.

Hang in there.
Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 08-02-2013 at 02:34 AM.
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  #14  
Old 08-02-2013, 01:21 AM
willowstar willowstar is offline
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Thank you all so much!! This has been very helpful for me, and I am already feeling much better about things. Perspectives that I have not been able to get to myself, that we have trouble communicating about, it is all good.

In terms of love languages, I am an Acts of Service person. Which is difficult for hubby. He says he sometimes feels like he is just around because I need him to "do stuff for me". Which I do. But for me, changing the oil in my car without my asking him to, or offering to go to the store so I dont have to, those are all things that make my heart soar! That he thinks about those things, wants to ease my burden, free up my time so that we can do stuff.

Part of what comes up for me is that my BF does many of these types of things for me. He is a very sexual person, and loves touch as much as anyone else does. But he recognizes that I do things differently and he adapts. So when TB has trouble doing that for me, it is hard for me to accept. But I am struggling with his love style too. We are both learning to learn....

Could it be he thinks he stepping up his game and showing you " extra love " showing you now attracted he is in you with the new PDA and sexual advances. He might be hoping that energy or attraction would be returned or at the very least acknowledged.
~ dingedheart

Yes, I do think this is exactly what he is doing. He is showing me he loves me in the best way he currently knows how. I dont fault him for that, I can see that he is trying, hard. It is just not my language.

- Physical Touch (or any love language) can be a tricky beast...

I was surprised as hell that Touch was one of my love languages. My ex rarely touched me, except as a prelude to sex. We rarely held hands (uncomfortable for him), no "hand on the shoulder" thing when we were out, no cuddling in bed (I remember telling my partner "I'm not a cuddler"... HA! WRONGO!), no casual, loving touch unless he wanted some, and it got to the point where I equated his touch with the pressure to perform. The book actually touches (hehehe) on this. If it feels like your partner is only touching you to "get some", then it can feel more manipulative than loving, and actually turn you OFF. With my ex, when the sex was over, the touching stopped until he wanted it again. With my partner now, he is constantly touching - holding hands, hugging, holding a knee, rubbing his thumb along mine, etc. And even the more "private" touching doesn't necessarily have to lead to sex. No pressure, just enjoyment. I was surprised at how damned *wonderful* touch could be when there's no pressure to perform (and rejection when I didn't).
~YouAreHere

Yes!! This!! Thank you SO much! This is exactly what I am talking about. IN the past, and not just with TB but with other lovers too, this is my experience. So to see it written out is wonderful and affirming. Thank you!

GG, Marcus, LovingRadiance, thank you for your words as well. All so, so helpful...

Willow
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Willow ~ 44yo bi woman, married to Bear (formerly known as TB) for 18 years
Bear-Maybe poly/maybe mono straight man, still feeling it out
Armadillo (formerly known as BF) - currently out of the picture. Depression is evil...
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  #15  
Old 08-02-2013, 03:52 AM
BoringGuy BoringGuy is offline
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The great thing about being "acts-of-service-oriented" is that it allows us to express that even when we can't be together. I, too, get "on notice" when someone does something for me the RIGHT way, the FIRST time, WITHOUT asking. It means they are really noticing or paying attention to how I live and how to make my everyday life run smoother.
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  #16  
Old 08-06-2013, 12:38 AM
PolyPA PolyPA is offline
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I understand that they're are problems in the relationship but how does taking sex off the table help?? If you're not getting your needs met at home, let your husband know. Taking sex off the table when sex was happening on a regular basis, would frustrate someone beyond belief. I think this would just fester and fester.

Just my 5cents
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  #17  
Old 08-09-2013, 08:39 PM
willowstar willowstar is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PolyPA View Post
I understand that they're are problems in the relationship but how does taking sex off the table help?? If you're not getting your needs met at home, let your husband know. Taking sex off the table when sex was happening on a regular basis, would frustrate someone beyond belief. I think this would just fester and fester.

Just my 5cents
PolyPA, I was not taking sex off the table as punishment or to "solve the problems" in the relationship. I did it because I DIDNT WANT TO HAVE SEX. And I had been doing it to please my husband, keep him happy, and to keep the peace. It was not about being GGG (Good, ?Giving and Game) a la Dan Savage. That I can do easily (hmm, no I wasnt really thinking of giving a blow job tonight, but I could do that for you, sure...).

I understand that my decision affected my husband, and he was not happy with it. However, this is one of those areas in which it's tricky, I think, to say to people that they should just give their partners what they need in a relationship. When people say that to me, it feels very much like "Just give him what he wants honey, and keep your man happy..." Very 1950's "how to please your Husband" mentality. Yuck.
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Just keep swimming, Just keep swimming... ~ Dori


Willow ~ 44yo bi woman, married to Bear (formerly known as TB) for 18 years
Bear-Maybe poly/maybe mono straight man, still feeling it out
Armadillo (formerly known as BF) - currently out of the picture. Depression is evil...
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  #18  
Old 08-09-2013, 11:18 PM
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Castalia Castalia is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willowstar View Post
I understand that my decision affected my husband, and he was not happy with it. However, this is one of those areas in which it's tricky, I think, to say to people that they should just give their partners what they need in a relationship. When people say that to me, it feels very much like "Just give him what he wants honey, and keep your man happy..." Very 1950's "how to please your Husband" mentality. Yuck.
I totally agree with you on this point. I despised the idea that I should have sex whether I wanted to or would enjoy it simply because "I was supposed to/he wanted it." It turned sex into a commodity, something to be traded so I could have some free time or go out without him turning into a puddle or acting like a jerk.
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  #19  
Old 08-09-2013, 11:53 PM
Flowerchild Flowerchild is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willowstar View Post
He is convinced that getting a GF for himself will solve his insecurity issue, because then he has someone else also, someone to give him some time and attention. I have tried to (gently) explain to him that this is not a good solution and he needs to figure out what is really going on for him.
I agree with you, it's not fair to whatever woman he goes after to simply be a role to fill. I've dated guys who I realized, after the fact, simply wanted a girlfriend, not me. So this is somewhat of a relationship issue, not just a poly one.

Actually developing a relationship with another woman is probably the healthiest thing he could do, but only once he's in a good place.

Once he realizes choosing to live a poly lifestyle with you means the ability to be with another woman (should he meet one and fall in love naturally), I think he may be very happy and grateful to be with you
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  #20  
Old 08-10-2013, 01:12 AM
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idealist idealist is offline
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Originally Posted by Flowerchild View Post
Actually developing a relationship with another woman is probably the healthiest thing he could do, but only once he's in a good place
I got involved with a couple a while back and I didn't realize that I was the only woman (other than his wife) that he had been involved with. I liked them as a couple, but eventually it came out that he is insecure, needy etc. once I began to back away from them because of the drama that started coming out, he went into a depression.....literally stayed in bed for two days. It was not a good thing.

One of the things I have realized about this lifestyle is that it is easier for women to thrive. It is a lot more difficult for men. I advised her to "assist" him in meeting women and couples- which she did and things have gotten better for them.

Not advise I would give to everyone, but I have seen couples that were struggling in the lifestyle and after suggesting that they approach it as a couple for a while - I have seen good results! But the relationship has to have a good foundation to begin with.
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Last edited by idealist; 08-10-2013 at 01:15 AM.
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