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  #21  
Old 01-04-2011, 06:16 AM
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Default Being cautious

Thank you again for all your words of caution. I shared all this information with my wife, including the link "http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4300&highlight=moved", to make sure we pay heed to it. I want to make sure this relationship works.

Fortunately, my wife and her new partner were the ones that originally approached me about forming a poly relationship, so they should generally be committed to the idea. I was the weakest link since I was (a) in shock, (b) felt betrayed, and (c) a staunch mono. If anyone was going to spin out and leave the relationship, it would have been me. Much to my surprise, I came around not just accepting the relationship but *LOVING* it. It feels like an awakening in me, opening my eyes... dare I be poly myself??

So now my wife's wife is the most mono in the relationship, and I want to make sure she feels welcome, secure, accepted, and supported. (I know what it's like to be mono!) For example, she was originally willing to accept her role as a secondary (even though she'd want to be an equal) in order for me accept the poly relationship. But I've taken her in as a full primary, equal to my wife and I in the relationship, and wouldn't want it any other way. I've let her know that we all love and care for her, that she can always speak up and express herself, that we'll move forward at her pace (no faster), that she can have her own space when she needs it, and that she can/should express anything else she needs in the relationship.

We'll continue to proceed with caution, and I'm hopeful that this will be a lifetime polyfid vee. Yes, even in a poly relationship, I'm a romantic and highly committed/devoted. ;-) Thank you again for all of your support... I really feel all the caring and support from this group to help make our new family succeed!
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  #22  
Old 01-06-2011, 07:11 AM
monolicious monolicious is offline
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I think it is a common occurrence in mono-turned-poly relationships for the original opener to feel fine from their end, but to have trouble when the tables are turned. I don't see this so much as a double standard as the fact that thinking about things is not the same as feeling them when they actually happen to you. If she continues to uphold those feelings and acts from them, that would be a problem, but just having them and needing time to navigate them seems perfectly reasonable to me. It may also be a real chance for her to understand some of the things you have been feeling and gain that much more empathy for you. It sounds like you are doing an amazing job of being a loving, understanding partner.

One thing I would caution you on though is the temptation and desire to find your own SO just to balance things out or keep up with your wife's poly. I tried to do this at first myself and found it to NOT be the best motivation for relationship. You feel vulnerable because your wife has someone else. One way to alleviate that sense of vulnerability is to find someone else for yourself. You see how happy she is and you think you might be able to find that, and you might. I think it is a VERY IMPORTANT question to ask why you are suddenly seeking another relationship when you never have before, when you identify as mono, and you haven't fallen in love with anyone. etc.

You have also run into another division of poly. There are people who believe you "fall into" poly, just like you fall into love. It isn't something you choose or seek out, it is something that chooses you. You discover and manifest poly when you fall in love with more than one person at a time. This is how your wife found poly so she believes that it should work that way for you.

Then there is the poly camp that approach poly very intentionally (my husband is one of these). These people fall in love with the idea and ideal of the poly model, and go about making it work for them and their lives. They seek out a poly community, poly friends, poly relationships. This seems to be how you are approaching it. Your wife brought poly into your life and now you are falling in love with the idea (not a person) and wanting to manifest it in your own life.

Both these approaches are valid, and can work.

However, with the intentional approach, my husband took 18 months from the time he fell into poly before he ever acted on it. If you are taking the thoughtful approach, it really needs to be thoughtful (not just reactionary).

As for how much info/access your wife is asking for when you resume dating. That is pretty much what I ask of my husband. In our marriage we always share everything and that was one aspect I didn't want to lose when he became poly.

That being said, I started out needing that kind of close/detail/constantly informed but have begun to move away from needing that lately. I've just become more comfortable and my need for it has lessened. I suspect that this might be true of your wife as well. Once the newness wears off and her fears have been consistently addressed and processed, she may be able to loosen her hold. Just be prepared that each new relationship (and step) comes with its own new issues though.

As for it being a double standard (ie- you didn't or don't keep those tight tabs on her), I don't see that as the real issue. She is asking for what she needs to feel safe. You could ask for the same things, and expect to get them, if that is what made you feel safe. I know my husband would never keep the close tags on me that I do on him because he doesn't feel the need. We are different people and have different needs in different relationships.

Relationships are not about everyone having the exact same equal treatment or stuff. Relationships are about everyone having what they need and some/most of what they want.

I had trouble with the comparison thing at first as well-a default gender issue that I am beginning to overcome. Just keep telling her that you love her for who she is, and you don't compare her to anyone. She is unique and loved. One thing my husband said to me was, "Honestly honey, no one CAN compare to you. There is just no comparison." I treasure that statement whenever I feel insecure.

Your questions to this group are:

1. How much transparency in dating is good vs. excessive / too-much-information?

My answer: As much as the people involved need to navigate the changes and feel safe. Your wife needs a chance to find out what that is for her, and she wants to start at the most informed she can get. I would guess that later, she won't need so much.

2. When is the appropriate time to tell my wife about someone I'm interested in talking to (as a potential date): (a) before I even meet/speak to the person, (b) after I've said "Hello" but before she responds with her own "Hello", (c) after we've both said "Hello" to each other but before we actually carry on a conversation, (d) once we've officially met but before we know each other, (e) once we've established a rapport with each other and want to start getting to know one another, (f) once we've had kids together, etc.

My answer: My husband tells me as soon as he has an inkling of interest, or sometimes I even point someone out and say, "Oh, she looks interesting and your type." I love being included at the very beginning and along the way, makes me feel very special and invested in the relationship for my husband.
And he has also told me that he values and trusts my intuition about people, and he seeks my input from the get go. That means the world to me.

3. Is it reasonable for me to have my own space, at least in the early stages of dating / getting to know people without my wife being involved at every step? Or is it important that she knows everything about everyone at all times, even in the earliest stages of meeting someone, so that she feels comfortable, empowered, and we can address any issues of fear, jealousy, concern, etc. that may arise right away, head on?

My answer: If you hadn't been married for so many years as mono, I think it would be perfectly reasonable. Maybe it still is. You and your wife will have to navigate and negotiate your desire for personal space. Because my husband didn't demand space and let me in on all aspects of his poly, I was eventually able to "give" him space. I have a personality where when I am told something, I balk, but if I am asked, or allowed to give it, I give freely.

4. What other advise do you have for me in starting the dating process?

My answer: Many others have said this (or hinted at it), but I'll say it again. SLOW DOWN. Poly is not a sprint, it is a marathon. In many of your threads I feel concerned at how quickly you are moving on many levels. Humans have a limited capacity for change over time. They need time to adjust and process. Feeling comfortable or happy is not the same as fully processing something. Just because you don't feel terrible doesn't mean you have dealt with it. If you don't take the time to fully process now, it WILL happen later, long after decisions have been made that will hurt deeply to undo.
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  #23  
Old 01-06-2011, 03:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monolicious View Post
You see how happy she is and you think you might be able to find that, and you might. I think it is a VERY IMPORTANT question to ask why you are suddenly seeking another relationship when you never have before, when you identify as mono, and you haven't fallen in love with anyone. etc.
You are absolutely correct, I do see how wonderful a poly relationship is for my wife, and I want the same thing for myself. I've been in love with at least one other person during my marriage but I would never have acted on it or even admitted it to anyone... doing so would have been considered morally wrong. And I've met other people ('tho not that often at all) that I've had an instant, deep attraction to, not just physically but emotionally, but I would always put up walls for fear of falling in love with that person.

That said, I think most monos have had the same experience, 'tho perhaps may have succumbed to their emotions and had an affair. For me, I couldn't image being anything but faithful, and even in a poly relationship, I would only want polyfidelity.

So does that make me a mono or a poly? I don't think that's enough data to tell yet. The real question (for me, at least) is if I can love multiple people in a sustained, long-term / lifelong relationship. It sound like a lot of work... much more complications in a poly relationship (due to the increased number of people). I like things easy... like ME! LOL Time will tell.

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Originally Posted by monolicious View Post
You have also run into another division of poly. There are people who believe you "fall into" poly, just like you fall into love. It isn't something you choose or seek out, it is something that chooses you. You discover and manifest poly when you fall in love with more than one person at a time. This is how your wife found poly so she believes that it should work that way for you.
Yes, this is a BIG TIME issue, and perhaps the biggest sticking point for my wife. She is ok with me having an OSO of my own, so long as it's a love-at-first-sight accidental chance encounter type of thing, that I wasn't looking for it, but I just happened to find another soulmate. The idea of me proactively dating people or looking for another soulmate just KILLS her!!!

On the other hand, I can't get dating out of my head, no matter how hard I try. I feel like I've been in a mono structure for so long, I'm starved to meet other people. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to go sleeping with them... but I want to get to know them, have fun, go on hikes or other activities that my wife doesn't necessary enjoy as much, and if something does happen to spark up with someone, then be able to explore it further.

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Originally Posted by monolicious View Post
As for how much info/access your wife is asking for when you resume dating. That is pretty much what I ask of my husband. In our marriage we always share everything and that was one aspect I didn't want to lose when he became poly.

That being said, I started out needing that kind of close/detail/constantly informed but have begun to move away from needing that lately. I've just become more comfortable and my need for it has lessened. I suspect that this might be true of your wife as well. Once the newness wears off and her fears have been consistently addressed and processed, she may be able to loosen her hold. Just be prepared that each new relationship (and step) comes with its own new issues though.
Interestingly, while my wife is (kind of) ok with me having an OSO of my own, my wife's wife isn't. She is very mono, somewhat jealous whenever I spend time with my wife ('tho she's good about it), probably wishes she could have my wife all to herself ('tho she would never act on that because she respects our marriage and family too much), and definitely doesn't want yet another OSO (other than herself) added to her/our family!

Furthermore, while my wife understands her needs to have two partners: one man and one woman, she doesn't understand why I would ever want to be with two different women. In her mind, that would mean she's insufficient for me, that if she were a better match, I wouldn't want to be with anyone else. She has a lot of fear that I would leave her for someone else, and jealousies that the OSO would be "better" than her in some way: age, activities, etc.

I've comforted her and continually reinforce to her that she's my soulmate, that I love her unconditionally, that she's wonderful and I love her deeply, with all my heart. She is perfect. And if I fall in love with another woman, none of that changes... she is still my soulmate, unconditional love, perfect. I think she understands that on some level, given that she's living it herself right now between me and her wife. But at the same time, I know she feels her situation is different than mine (i.e. she's bi, I'm straight) and feels that I should be satisfied with just one woman (as she is).

Quote:
Originally Posted by monolicious View Post
I'll say it again. SLOW DOWN. Poly is not a sprint, it is a marathon.
Agreed. Admittedly, I've never been patient at anything. My relationship with my wife went at light speed as well when we first met, as has everything else I tend to do, be it learning scuba, rock climbing, my work, etc. It's probably why I make a good executive at work, because I go deep/intense into a subject but also move quickly and decisively. That said, I've had to learn to "hide" how quickly I'm learning something new... or learn it solo... to prevent inadvertently burning my wife out on the subject as well (such as when I was learning to sail). I'll try to slow down more, but it's hard and sometimes has the reverse effect!

Last edited by Polymonial; 01-06-2011 at 05:32 PM.
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  #24  
Old 01-06-2011, 04:31 PM
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Wow, Polymonial, I can sure relate to what you're dealing with, as my husband and I are new to this as well. It is easy to get exhilarated by the possibilities, isn't it?! I have all kinds of beautiful poly fantasies of communal living, which I know are probably way too idealistic -- and unrealistic, ha! -- but I do love to dream, nonetheless.

My husband struggles with our new situation, and he sets up "rules," too. However, we tend to tweak them as we go along. I think it's tough on him since my lover is another straight male, so there is some "orangutan" jealousy that goes on.

My husband has joined some internet dating sights, but the women he meets are interested in the prince charming scenario. They are in NO WAY interested in a married man who wants to stay married but have another intimate relationship that is "wife-approved." I wish I could find one for him, but I suppose that would creep the women out even more, haha!

He's actually more of a mono, anyway, but I think it would do him some good to have some other women boost his ego, which has been really shaken by my new relationship. However, this doesn't make him poly. He was very, very promiscuous before we got married, and never wants to go back to that. He was ready to commit to one and only, and he has been a totally devoted and faithful husband. Who would have ever expected this? We're trying to make the best of it.

I have never felt jealous with him, but he says if he actually does meet someone, I'm going to freak out! I suppose compersion seems simple in theory, but once you have to practice it, it has its challenges, for sure. I feel like if he meets someone, she can be my friend, too, and that would be lovely! I'm not bi, so I'm not interested in a sexual relationship with her, but I would definitely welcome a friend. And I think my husband is wonderful, so I would love to have another woman sharing in my belief.

Just some newbie ramblings. Thanks to all for being here.
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  #25  
Old 01-06-2011, 04:42 PM
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I really appreciate the idea that there can be 2 ways of discovering Polyamory -- falling in love with another person, or falling in love with Polyamory and then pursuing the lifestyle!

I fell in love with someone, and was completely confused. It was awful. I could not understand how this could happen, when I loved my husband dearly (and still do).

Conventional thinking completely condemns me for what my heart says is right.

I still really struggle, but coming here helps.
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  #26  
Old 01-06-2011, 09:32 PM
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I haven't read all the responses so I apologize if this has been covered already. You were talking about your wife being uncomfortable with you looking for a relationship on a dating site. I had similar insecurities and it took me a long time to articulate why that is.

Dating sites are a lot like shopping for a partner. It seems that pretty much anyone who responds will do. It made me feel like *I* wasn't really worth anything since anyone who came along and responded to an e-mail would fill the role of "girlfriend". It made me wonder if I was just in the position of "wife" because I happened to be there.

I have no idea if this is what is going on for her but it is worth asking. I know a lot of people meet on line these days. There isn't anything actually wrong with it but if it is triggering something in her there may be some kind of underlying reason why.
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Old 01-06-2011, 10:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carma View Post
My husband has joined some internet dating sights, but the women he meets are interested in the prince charming scenario. They are in NO WAY interested in a married man who wants to stay married but have another intimate relationship that is "wife-approved." I wish I could find one for him, but I suppose that would creep the women out even more, haha!
Would you belive that's EXACTLY how I met my boyfriend? In person, not over the internet, but she engineered time for us to spend together and gave her approval quite openly. I was nervous at first, but it has proved to be a wonderful experience for me.
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Old 01-06-2011, 10:29 PM
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I really appreciate the idea that there can be 2 ways of discovering Polyamory -- falling in love with another person, or falling in love with Polyamory and then pursuing the lifestyle!
I think maybe there's a third, which is accepting the validity of both monogamy and polyamory, without being "sold" on one or the other. I wouldn't identify as polyamorous, though I am in a poly relationship and have dated more than one person at a time, honestly and openly, and adore my OSO's contribution to my life. I don't know what will happen for me in the future, but I'm not convinced it's about wiring. Maybe it's like being bi, only with numbers?
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Old 01-14-2011, 08:50 PM
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Would you belive that's EXACTLY how I met my boyfriend? In person, not over the internet, but she engineered time for us to spend together and gave her approval quite openly. I was nervous at first, but it has proved to be a wonderful experience for me.
Wow! I would love to find someone good for my husband. He deserves it!
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Old 01-14-2011, 10:41 PM
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Wow! I would love to find someone good for my husband. He deserves it!
And there's something *nice* about being valued enough by another to be thought a good match for their partner, and invited into a family.
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