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  #11  
Old 08-11-2010, 12:34 PM
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Hi Cyrus. Four years ago both my husband and I had been completely monogamous for over two decades. Unlike you, I had not had any significant opposite-sex friendships, except for one with a gay male friend.

I read about polyamory online and had a big a-ha moment. I had literally never even dared to think about having close friendships with men, let alone sex, with any man but my husband since I was about 20 years old. I was suddenly letting myself think about it, and I liked it!

I immediately started talking to my husband about just the concept. We were accustomed to discussing current events, trends, philosophies, with each other anyway and this was just more of the same for us. He thought it was a very cool concept (he had even read some Heinlein, which was a good thing), but most decidedly NOT for us.

We kept talking about it though. I found things for both of us to read online and on amazon.com. I also began an opposite-sex friendship with a man online. Yes, I had feelings for him, although in hindsight, my feelings were based largely on online chitchat and not on much in-person contact, so I tend to discount them now since I no longer believe that you can truly get to know someone that way. I never had physical contact with the other man outside of one hug, and I do not consider it cheating. I believe the concept of an "emotional affair" is a bunch of BS invented by threatened, jealous monogamists.

It was eight months of unhurried and frank discussion and a whole lot of reading before my husband said, "Ok, go forth and try other relationships."

And we screwed it up. Royally. I had a whole lot of casual sex that never turned into anything more, despite my hopes, and most of it ultimately made me unhappy and feeling bad about myself. My husband jumped into dating a bit later on and immediately got "cowgirled." We didn't have nearly the trust and communication we needed between us to do this successfully. We hadn't clarified or internalized our rules of engagement sufficiently. We almost broke up our second year of being poly, after over 20 years together, most of them quite happy.

We endured, because we love each other deeply and have children together, and we put ourselves back together with the help of competent poly-friendly counseling and many late nights hashing things out. My ex-boyfriend was a help too, he bridged a gap in communication between us more than once.

I think you have some very close women friends, which is awesome. You can love your friends. You aren't cheating on your wife until you have sexual contact with these women. Is that something you really want? If so, you need to work towards that goal. You need to be honest with your wife and talk to her about a lifestyle that attracts you. Sure, it goes against her core beliefs. It went against my husband's as well. He evolved, because he loves me and ultimately wanted us to live in a way that makes me feel happy and fulfilled.

One thing struck me as sad about your post. When you said you didn't "care" if your wife had a boyfriend? If you are going to be a successful poly couple you NEED to care, very much. You need to be very, very concerned that she is happy, and feeling valued by her other partners, if she has any. Not caring is a sign that your relationship isn't nearly strong enough to do this.

Work on making your relationship as strong as you can and on making it honest, in that you are able to talk about your thoughts and feelings and desires with her, even if you worry she will disapprove. Try to make your romantic and intimate life the best it can be too. There are books out there that can help you with all of that. I recommend John Gottman's The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work and Gary Chapman's The Five Love Languages.

When you feel that your wife is truly your best friend, that you can talk to her about anything and have her at least listen and take your feelings and desires seriously, when your own relationship is exciting and sexually vibrant and you feel you are meeting each other's needs as well as you possibly can, THAT is the time to try out poly.

Good luck.

Last edited by gwendolenthefair; 08-11-2010 at 01:32 PM.
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  #12  
Old 08-11-2010, 11:26 PM
anotherbo anotherbo is offline
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When you feel that your wife is truly your best friend, that you can talk to her about anything and have her at least listen and take your feelings and desires seriously, when your own relationship is exciting and sexually vibrant and you feel you are meeting each other's needs as well as you possibly can, THAT is the time to try out poly.
This sounds like awesome advice to me. I sure wish I had followed it in the early part of my failed marriage, when all those conditions applied.

Good luck Cyrus.


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  #13  
Old 08-12-2010, 12:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gwendolenthefair View Post
Hi Cyrus. Four years ago both my husband and I had been completely monogamous for over two decades. Unlike you, I had not had any significant opposite-sex friendships, except for one with a gay male friend.

I read about polyamory online and had a big a-ha moment. I had literally never even dared to think about having close friendships with men, let alone sex, with any man but my husband since I was about 20 years old. I was suddenly letting myself think about it, and I liked it!

I immediately started talking to my husband about just the concept. We were accustomed to discussing current events, trends, philosophies, with each other anyway and this was just more of the same for us. He thought it was a very cool concept (he had even read some Heinlein, which was a good thing), but most decidedly NOT for us.

We kept talking about it though. I found things for both of us to read online and on amazon.com. I also began an opposite-sex friendship with a man online. Yes, I had feelings for him, although in hindsight, my feelings were based largely on online chitchat and not on much in-person contact, so I tend to discount them now since I no longer believe that you can truly get to know someone that way. I never had physical contact with the other man outside of one hug, and I do not consider it cheating. I believe the concept of an "emotional affair" is a bunch of BS invented by threatened, jealous monogamists.

It was eight months of unhurried and frank discussion and a whole lot of reading before my husband said, "Ok, go forth and try other relationships."

And we screwed it up. Royally. I had a whole lot of casual sex that never turned into anything more, despite my hopes, and most of it ultimately made me unhappy and feeling bad about myself. My husband jumped into dating a bit later on and immediately got "cowgirled." We didn't have nearly the trust and communication we needed between us to do this successfully. We hadn't clarified or internalized our rules of engagement sufficiently. We almost broke up our second year of being poly, after over 20 years together, most of them quite happy.

We endured, because we love each other deeply and have children together, and we put ourselves back together with the help of competent poly-friendly counseling and many late nights hashing things out. My ex-boyfriend was a help too, he bridged a gap in communication between us more than once.

I think you have some very close women friends, which is awesome. You can love your friends. You aren't cheating on your wife until you have sexual contact with these women. Is that something you really want? If so, you need to work towards that goal. You need to be honest with your wife and talk to her about a lifestyle that attracts you. Sure, it goes against her core beliefs. It went against my husband's as well. He evolved, because he loves me and ultimately wanted us to live in a way that makes me feel happy and fulfilled.

One thing struck me as sad about your post. When you said you didn't "care" if your wife had a boyfriend? If you are going to be a successful poly couple you NEED to care, very much. You need to be very, very concerned that she is happy, and feeling valued by her other partners, if she has any. Not caring is a sign that your relationship isn't nearly strong enough to do this.

Work on making your relationship as strong as you can and on making it honest, in that you are able to talk about your thoughts and feelings and desires with her, even if you worry she will disapprove. Try to make your romantic and intimate life the best it can be too. There are books out there that can help you with all of that. I recommend John Gottman's The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work and Gary Chapman's The Five Love Languages.

When you feel that your wife is truly your best friend, that you can talk to her about anything and have her at least listen and take your feelings and desires seriously, when your own relationship is exciting and sexually vibrant and you feel you are meeting each other's needs as well as you possibly can, THAT is the time to try out poly.

Good luck.
I liked this so much I quoted the whole thing! I think I like it echos my own life story and values. Thank you for sharing your story.
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  #14  
Old 08-12-2010, 12:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gwendolenthefair View Post
I believe the concept of an "emotional affair" is a bunch of BS invented by threatened, jealous monogamists.
.
I agree with most of what you said EXCEPT the above comment. Cheating is defined as whatever the couple defines it as. If forming an emotional connection with someone that crosses the "friendship" boundary is breaking an understood agreement, then it is cheating.

To say it is BS is your opinion, as you stated. To say it was "invented by threatened, jealous monogamists" is judgmental and overly generalist.

just my .02.
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  #15  
Old 08-12-2010, 01:53 AM
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Originally Posted by redsirenn View Post
I agree with most of what you said EXCEPT the above comment. Cheating is defined as whatever the couple defines it as. If forming an emotional connection with someone that crosses the "friendship" boundary is breaking an understood agreement, then it is cheating.

To say it is BS is your opinion, as you stated. To say it was "invented by threatened, jealous monogamists" is judgmental and overly generalist.

just my .02.
I'm with Redsirenn on this one. Hidden online connections are just as potentially damaging as actually fucking someone behind your partner's back. There's a bit to much venom in the tone of that comment for me. But I'm sensitive.
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Last edited by MonoVCPHG; 08-12-2010 at 01:56 AM.
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  #16  
Old 08-12-2010, 03:29 AM
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gwendolenthefair gwendolenthefair is offline
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redsirenn and Mono, you are entitled to your opinions, of course. I personally blame the concept of emotional affairs and "cheating without physical contact" for the relative dearth of opposite-sex friendships among married people. I myself never had close platonic male friends for my entire adult married life, age 23 onward, until I was poly. There was no real forum for having them when I was monogamous.

FWIW, I did not conceal my emotional connection with my online buddy from my husband. He was well aware of our relationship and my feelings for the person. It was one of the things that convinced us both that yes, I COULD have feelings for more than one person and it would not impact our relationship adversely.
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  #17  
Old 08-12-2010, 03:39 AM
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Originally Posted by gwendolenthefair View Post
I myself never had close platonic male friends for my entire adult married life, age 23 onward, until I was poly. There was no real forum for having them when I was monogamous.

.
I totally get where your opinion comes from then, my friend. I guess I have a hard time relating to that level of "restriction" within any type of relationship. It's just not my experience with most monogamous relationships....but I have seen the extremes of isolation as well. That was individual faults and not the fault of a relationship approach though. Thanks for clarifying
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  #18  
Old 08-12-2010, 03:42 AM
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I'd say I have to agree with red on this one too actually. Its between the couple what cheating is.
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  #19  
Old 08-12-2010, 10:40 PM
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Default Emotional cheating?

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Originally Posted by redsirenn View Post
Cheating is defined as whatever the couple defines it as. If forming an emotional connection with someone that crosses the "friendship" boundary is breaking an understood agreement, then it is cheating.

To say it is BS is your opinion, as you stated. To say it was "invented by threatened, jealous monogamists" is judgmental and overly generalist.
Well, it's judgemental, in that there is a judgement there, but I don't know why that's a problem. Not all relationship agreements are equally healthy, and not all relationship agreements come from a place of security and a lack of jealousy. I don't think that we need to pretend otherwise, or pretend that we can't assess that.

I'm also not sure that it is "overly generalist". I know that plenty of poly- people build ways to cheat into their relationships, and that plenty of monogamous couples are neither threatened nor jealous, but I think it is safe to say that in general cheating is a concept that exists in the context of monogamy. There's an essay on The Power Dynamics of Cheating that addresses the relationship between monogamy, cheating and polyamory with more nuance, but in the case of policing someone's emotions by calling it "cheating" I think what you're seeing really is the invention of something to control one's romantic partner by threatening them with being labelled a "cheater".
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