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Old 03-06-2010, 01:29 PM
HowDidIGetHere HowDidIGetHere is offline
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Hi everybody - I sure could use a little advice from... well... almost anybody at this point. I *think* I'm in a poly-V relationship: K. and I have had an intimate relationship for two years; her husband T. and I are good buddies and, because of a little hiccup with my life last year (don't ask!) I now even live with them. Frankly, we've been going along great and never dreamed that anybody else lived like we do - we only recently discovered the word "polyamory" - amazing but true! Hell, we've even been looking at houses to buy together!

T. and K. had discussed having an open marriage before K. (a work friend of mine) ever broached the idea with me. She is wonderful and beautiful and honest and we both love her to pieces. She has multiple sclerosis (MS) but still gets thru her day with courage and a smile... for now.

A couple of months ago she met somebody on Facebook and it rapidly progressed to a frisky, lusty, free-wheeling on-line "affair". S. (the guy she met online) isn't just some whack job outta nowhere - K. and S. grew up in the same town and, while they didn't know each other in school, they have a zillion points-of-contact in common. S. is married, but things with his wife of 20+ years have cooled to the point where he asked to be 'let off the leash' to meet and romp with K. K. asked T. if this was OK, it was by him. When she asked me my head damn near exploded! Jealousy, betrayal, fear - the unholy triumvirate of negative emotions. It was awful for me, and my reaction made her feel terrible.

She had been spending lots of time on the computer talking to S.; T. and I had both been feeling neglected, but T. is her husband and she will always come home to him. I worry that she's gotten bored with me and is looking for the thrill of something new. She was so taken aback by my reaction that she agreed to call off the liaison with S., but they remain online friends. S. is working on things with his wife, which is good, but I know K. would still love to romp with him.

What do I do? I want her to have whatever she wants, especially because with MS the clock is ticking a bit faster for her than for the rest of us - you get just so many springs and summers in this life. I might be able to get my head around the whole idea of her with S., but I'm scared senseless. I'd be willing to try to get to know S. in hopes of working thru my own fears, but what I really want is to keep K. all for just T. and me. Help!

Last edited by HowDidIGetHere; 03-06-2010 at 01:32 PM.
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Old 03-06-2010, 03:39 PM
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ImaginaryIllusion ImaginaryIllusion is offline
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First of all, welcome to the forum.

I'm pretty sure someone else will have some advice for you, as I'm not as good at that. I usually don't have nearly as many answers as I have questions. However, I think you probably have the answers already, if you ask the questions in a different way or another order.

What is most important to you and your relationship with K?
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Originally Posted by HowDidIGetHere View Post
I want her to have whatever she wants, especially because with MS the clock is ticking a bit faster for her than for the rest of us - you get just so many springs and summers in this life.
Is this really what you want? The rest of the questions will proceed on the premise that this is what you really want....mostly because I don't think you'd be here asking for advice if you wanted to shut down the possibilities for K. So if this is what you want, the rest basically comes down to what's stopping you?

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Jealousy, betrayal, fear - the unholy triumvirate of negative emotions. It was awful for me, and my reaction made her feel terrible.
Yep, that'd be an obstacle. So where does this come from? What are you afraid of? Why are you jealous? You make no mention of any jealousy issues wrt T. Why would this come up specifically with S?

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Originally Posted by HowDidIGetHere View Post
I might be able to get my head around the whole idea of her with S., but I'm scared senseless. I'd be willing to try to get to know S. in hopes of working thru my own fears, but what I really want is to keep K. all for just T. and me. Help!
Fear can be a very effective paralyzer...if permitted to run free...and that can include it's effect on the parts of our brains responsible for rational decision making. From what you have said in your post, I get the impression that rationally you don't have any concerns about S in terms of him being some kind of bad influence or hurtful douchebag or anything like that. So the fear is from somewhere else, somewhere emotional and irrational maybe? Old habits? Past experiences?. The future? Change? The unknown?

As for keeping K to you and T...what purpose would that serve? Is she someone to be kept? Does that really make sense? Does that help you towards what you said you wanted above?

One of the things I had to do for myself during my own process of opening up was reconcile my fears regarding my wife possibly being with another man. When we started looking at dating people separately I had some long standing and indoctrinated hangups about her being able to date men. I had no issues with her being with women...but I had to do some soul searching and reorganizing internally to sort that out. I had to ask myself a lot of these questions. Why was I afraid of her being with a man, but not a woman? If I wasn't afraid of her love/relationship/intimacy with a woman, what happened if it was a man instead? So What?
Eventually, when I really thought about...and got around the programming instilled since childhood from society...the answer was 'So What Nothing'.

So, where does the fear come from? Does it make sense? So what?
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T. is her husband and she will always come home to him. I worry that she's gotten bored with me and is looking for the thrill of something new.
Why do you worry about this? Why would she automatically come home to him and not to you? You've been together for 2 years already. She has love for the two of you...why not 3? If loving you doesn't stop her love for T, why would love for S threated her love for you? Love may even be a strong word wrt S, since you describe the intentions between K and S as a 'Romp'. But even if it was more than just sex, So what?

So, why wouldn't she come home to you?
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Originally Posted by HowDidIGetHere View Post
Hell, we've even been looking at houses to buy together!
To me, this is a pretty big tell in your story. If you're looking at buying houses together, then I would think K and T are pretty serious about you. This is a big flashing neon sign saying that they want you to stick around. That if she's coming home to her husband, she's coming home to you too. It's an over-sized bug zapper that should be able to toast those little moths of doubt and fear before they eat you from the inside out.

I hope something in there made sense. If you answer some of those for yourself, I hope you'll find yourself a step closer to your goal...being able to let K have what she wants, and give yourself the inner peace to let her go do so without fear or reservation.
Cheers.
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Old 03-06-2010, 04:04 PM
GroundedSpirit GroundedSpirit is offline
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Hello How - and welcome !

I think Imaginary's post was par excellence ! Covered it all well.
The compersion thing is huge If you can cling to that you'll make everyone around you have a nicer life.

And really - if you think about it, if - as Imaginary pointed out - you have no negative concerns about this guy - what harm is a little "romp" ? It won't change what the 3 of you have together. Unless you make it change

The only concern here of course is the fact that he's got a mate at home and how is THAT going to play out ? Last thing anyone needs is more drama in their life. Something to think about.

Good luck

GS
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Old 03-06-2010, 08:59 PM
HowDidIGetHere HowDidIGetHere is offline
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Oh, guys - thank you SO much for your replies! It's really wonderful to know that there are other people out there who've faced these issues before. In the last two days I've found dozens of websites, read bunches of articles and started to really understand this polyamory thing. I will come back in a bit to reply more fully to Imaginary's excellent treatise (How much you charge an hour for therapy? I'm in! <LOL>). Right now I have to smugly report that K. read my post and the replies, and T. has gone to a friend's for the afternoon, so I think we're gonna have some hours of delicious horizontal conversation ahead of us. At 45, how did I get here? This is the most amazing personal journey I've ever been on! Wow!
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Old 03-07-2010, 03:51 PM
HowDidIGetHere HowDidIGetHere is offline
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Hi Imaginary and Grounded - It's a new day and I can't thank you enough for your previous posts. I wanted to answer some of the questions you guys raised.

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The only concern here of course is the fact that he's got a mate at home and how is THAT going to play out? Last thing anyone needs is more drama in their life. Something to think about.
Yep, that's a biggie all right. One of my major concerns is that S. maybe has really given up on working thru things with his wife and is just looking to put another notch in his belt. While some in the poly community seem to be OK with "drive-by shooting" sex I most definitely am NOT! I think K. has this under control, but I know from some of the things she and S. chatted about online that he's gotta be right at the boiling point. As a fellow sufferer of the male condition I can image what he's going thru: here's this great woman K. online who's willing to talk about sex when his wife isn't, who initiated some really deep emotional conversations, who is after all in an open marriage... Jeesh, that's like catnip! I'd want to screw her too!

As it stands right now K. is good with "let's wait and see what happens". I really think that S. has to get his own affairs in order [pun intended] before even a meet and greet should happen. I also think the meet and greet should include S.'s wife. Is this too restrictive? For me the sine qua non for open relationships is honesty and communication; seems like this should include all affected parties.


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Originally Posted by ImaginaryIllusion View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by HowDidIGetHere View Post
...my head damn near exploded! Jealousy, betrayal, fear - the unholy triumvirate of negative emotions. It was awful for me, and my reaction made her feel terrible.
Yep, that'd be an obstacle. So where does this come from? What are you afraid of? Why are you jealous? You make no mention of any jealousy issues wrt T. Why would this come up specifically with S?
Very, very interesting question, Imaginary. I'd been trying to explain to K. how I felt about T. What I would tell her was that when they snuggled on the couch together, or asked me for some alone time for themselves I felt absolutely great! She didn't understand this - how could I not feel some pangs of jealousy? I did at first when our relationship was initially forming, what had changed? Was I repressing the feelings, was I just not interested in her any more?

Then last week I had an eye-popping experience: I tripped over the work "compersion" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compersion. It was like discovering another color, or a new cardinal direction - absolutely incredible! Here was this word which described the emotion I was feeling. What a relief to know that I wasn't the first human to have had this feeling!

She's still kinda dubious about compersion because she herself hasn't had to face the idea of T. with another woman. So far he's been happy just to browse, he hasn't found anybody really interesting, and K. and T. had a policy of "don't ask, don't tell" if T. wanted to date somebody else. I've been slowly wearing away at her resistance to knowing whomever T. might want to date (call her X. although I sure hope this doesn't stand for "Xanthippe" <GRIN>). I believe he would like what K. and I have - a really close friendship with X., then the joy of physical union, possibly then shading into a deep committed love. God, I hate that phrase "It's just sex." Blech!

So, why am I jealous of S.? Because I don't want to share K.'s love or time. I want them all for myself - mine, mine mine! (Well, T.'s and mine, that's OK. I am the interloper after all so I have to make some concessions.) And yet, the rational part of my mind knows that emotions are NOT a finite quantity, and love is not a zero-sum game: giving love to one person does not necessarily mean you're taking away love from somebody else. This is, however, the prevailing understading of love in the Western world.

Time is another matter, because far-out quantum physics notwithstanding, our human experience of time is finite. Any time K. would spend with S. would be time away from both T. and me. That's a solid fact. So could I handle K. being off alone with S. while I sit on the couch and throw tennis balls for the dogs? That's a real tough nut for me.

On the one hand, I'm glad that K. has a friend in S. and that they 'love' in the Greek senses of caritas and agape. On the other hand the eros thing is real bitch, 'cause that's MY job! I'm supposed to be the 'new guy'! I think K. would agree that our sex lives, even after two years, just keep getting better and better. So where's the upside? Is it the thrill of something new and different?

My head is starting to hurt from all this introspection so I'll close this posting by thanking everybody once again for their replies and their help. Who knew being a human being could be so complex?

Last edited by HowDidIGetHere; 03-07-2010 at 04:15 PM. Reason: Spelling
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Old 03-07-2010, 04:57 PM
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ImaginaryIllusion ImaginaryIllusion is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HowDidIGetHere View Post
(How much you charge an hour for therapy? I'm in! <LOL>).
$5/hour...but I type slow. So the $800 bill for the last post is in the mail.


Quote:
Originally Posted by HowDidIGetHere View Post
I think K. has this under control, but I know from some of the things she and S. chatted about online that he's gotta be right at the boiling point. As a fellow sufferer of the male condition I can imaging what he's going thru:
If K has this under control, then I'd suggest trusting her to keep it under control. It's possible though that regardless of what you view of drive-by-sex is, it's possible a partner might have a differing view. Not sure there'd be much to do other than talk about it and see how K views it.

As for the male condition. I recall a saying that a man can live without Air for minutes, water for days, food for weeks, and answers forever. Guess what time scale sex fits into?

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Originally Posted by HowDidIGetHere View Post
As it stands right now K. is good with "let's wait and see what happens". I really think that S. has to get his own affairs in order [pun intended] before even a meet and greet should happen. I also think the meet and greet should include S.'s wife. Is this too restrictive? For me the sine qua non for open relationships is honesty and communication; seems like this should include all affected parties.
Interesting idea. I've seen some who definitely would advocate such, and some insist on it so as to know that they aren't inadvertently condoning cheating. Has anyone other than S actually talked with the wife to see if she knows that he's been let off the leash? Does she actually want to know about any of it?

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Originally Posted by HowDidIGetHere View Post
Then last week I had an eye-popping experience: I tripped over the work "compersion"
I was really glad that GS brought that one up too. For some reason I keep forgetting to mention it. I should stamp it on my forehead or something to keep it in mind.

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Originally Posted by HowDidIGetHere View Post
So, why am I jealous of S.? Because I don't want to share K.'s love or time. I want them all for myself - mine, mine mine! (Well, T.'s and mine, that's OK. I am the interloper after all so I have to make some concessions.) And yet, the rational part of my mind knows that emotions are NOT a finite quantity, and love is not a zero-sum game: giving love to one person does not necessarily mean you're taking away love from somebody else. This is, however, the prevailing understading of love in the Western world.
Poly is not the prevailing practice. The Ethical Slut spent quite some time in commentary about the scripts that we learn though society. The patterns we've learned about how people are supposed to act with love. It's in the movies, books, music, neighbors, played out on the school field.
You're rational mind is starting to make the leap to break from those patterns. It'll take some time, but you can take the rest of you with it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HowDidIGetHere View Post
Time is another matter, because far-out quantum physics notwithstanding, our human experience of time is finite. Any time K. would spend with S. would be time away from both T. and me. That's a solid fact. So could I handle K. being off alone with S. while I sit on the couch and throw tennis balls for the dogs? That's a real tough nut for me.
Does it really take from you? Do the three of you spend 24/7 of your waking time together? Is she always with you and T? Does K never take time for K?

You're absolutely right that time is precious, and our alloted amount is finite. For me, I'm required to spend a lot of time away from home, and my wife has some extracurricular activities that keep her really busy too. I could worry about loosing what little time I have with her to another partner, but I don't. I have enough to do between kids, hobbies, housework (If you read this dear, stop laughing! ) etc etc. Time isn't the problem we run into. Loss of connection is. Our solution to that so far has been to make sure what time we do have together is used to keep connected. Especially after a long absence.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HowDidIGetHere View Post
My head is starting to hurt from all this introspection so I'll close this posting by thanking everybody once again for their replies and their help.
Get some Tylenol then...there's still a lot of introspection to go. Keep trucking buddy. And Communicate. You'll get there.
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Old 03-07-2010, 05:47 PM
GroundedSpirit GroundedSpirit is offline
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Quote:
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Does it really take from you? Do the three of you spend 24/7 of your waking time together? Is she always with you and T? Does K never take time for K?
Yea - time is one of those things we have to balance but in reality it doesn't seem to be as big a monster as we make it sitting back and letting our imagination run wild.
Because everyone is SO fearful and aware of it sometimes it actually flops the other way and people start taking intentional back seats out of consideration of others and everyone ends up sitting home alone ! LOL Humans are strange critters
But if it comes that someone seems to be a bit on the short end of the stick AND communication is good it's really easier than you'd imagine to just toss out a "hey - I'm feeling a bit lonely lately - can anyone help me out ?" And as long as that privilege isn't abused that usually all it takes.

Not as bad as it might seem. The dogs need some attention too

GS
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Old 03-07-2010, 05:55 PM
NeonKaos NeonKaos is offline
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Quote:
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Does it really take from you? Do the three of you spend 24/7 of your waking time together? Is she always with you and T? Does K never take time for K?

You're absolutely right that time is precious, and our alloted amount is finite. For me, I'm required to spend a lot of time away from home, and my wife has some extracurricular activities that keep her really busy too. I could worry about loosing what little time I have with her to another partner, but I don't. I have enough to do between kids, hobbies, housework (If you read this dear, stop laughing! ) etc etc. Time isn't the problem we run into. Loss of connection is. Our solution to that so far has been to make sure what time we do have together is used to keep connected. Especially after a long absence.

It's about quality over quantity. I know that sounds like over-simplification, but I like to keep things as simple as possible.

Also, when you have separate extra-curricular activities, you have that much more to share and talk about when you are together. This goes for ALL of your relationships. Win-win for everyone. The cup is half-empty and half-full at the same time, but what really matters is what's IN the cup.
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