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  #41  
Old 02-05-2011, 12:58 AM
Ariakas Ariakas is offline
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Originally Posted by Polymonial View Post
First, a couple questions (forgive my ignorance, I'm still a newbie here)... what is the meaning of the following terms: Cowboy, cowgirl, and mule?
Cowgender is someone coming in to try and steal you away from your primary relationship to start your own. Cowgender are as much the fault of the people involved as the cowgender's. As long as everyone knows the ground rules from the start, now one should ever become one. And if they are one they wouldn't get involved. Any...indecision on the part of any one partner, breeds this kind of person.

Mule is a new one, I just made up for sarcastic humour. It reads like their are two cowgirls (your wifes gf and your...friend) and you are both gonna let them ride you for the full ride until something breaks. Excuse my cynicism. It was more a sarcastic joke on having two mono gf's in the mix of a couple.

Quote:
And yes... there's a lot of mono in this relationship. In fact, even my wife (who is the poly) feels she's actually mono... just mono in love with two people at the same time. She jokingly uses the term "bi-mono" for this. Monolicious is spot on correct when she says:
This is like another person I argued with that said she wasn't non-monogamous but was a swinger. Poly is loving more than two people, she loves more than two people. There isn't really splitting hairs unless she is a label hater...(see below)

Quote:
I think we're basically three monos in a poly relationship, but with very open minds to the possibilities and trying to make it work, 'through all the challenges. I'm just not sure how easy it is for a bunch of monos to maintain a poly relationship together in the long run? Usually, there's at least ONE poly in the group! ;-)
In the end, here is where I digress...its all labels. What would you be if you never found poly...3 people in love in a non-monogamous relationship trying to make relationships work. Sometimes walking away from the label and the attached...stigmas and responsibilities of those labels helps people. It might be something to consider in your journey if the labels are what are creating some of your tension.

You seem reasonable and thoughtful. Its working as it is now...mono, poly, ethical whatever you want. Keep doing what you are doing and trying to make it work. In the end, this is just another set of relationships, if everyone is open to it and knows the end goals...it has as good a chance as working as any relationship. Its only as complex and intense as you want to make it.

Good luck

Ari
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  #42  
Old 02-07-2011, 11:07 PM
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Default A cowgirl and her mule

I had a long talk with my wife's OSO over the weekend and cleared the air on a LOT of issues. I offered to let them (my wife and her OSO) start their own life together as a simple, mono couple (particularly since the OSO is VERY mono herself), but she doesn't want that. She really wants me to stay in the triad.

So I guess that despite being a mono, she's definitely not a cowgirl, and she's always made it clear that she would rather have the "tablescraps" of our relationship than break us up. Of course, I'd never want to consider her as anything less than a primary as well... no one deserves just "tablescraps" in a relationship.

The girl I dated, on the other hand, is definitely a cowgirl... and unfortunately, I'm hooked on her. Plus I pine for the simpler life of serial monogamy. (I'm sorry... I know what heresy that is here.) But I don't want to leave my wife either. So life kind of sucks for me right now, even though it's only because the four of us have a lot love between us. *sigh*

So I guess that makes me the mule. Better than a donkey, I guess... but not by much. (Maybe where it counts most? ) I am more stressed now than ever, probably because this is MY turn to make a decision. Establishing the poly relationship in was my wife's doing, and I had the luxury of being a mere participant, along for the ride (so to speak). But now, whatever decision I make (to leave the triad vs. stay and try to work through the issues) will have significant, permanent, and life-changing consequences. I can't take this decision lightly... I have to be certain before doing anything.

So I'm seeing a couple marriage counselors this week. Getting support from my closest friends. Posting my life story and getting expert feedback on polyamory.com. And sucking down sake bombs. (Don't worry... I don't normally drink, but these are exceptional times.)

Wish me luck (whatever that means), hope, wisdom, mercy, patience (I don't have a lot of this right now, I'm currently in a mental meltdown), and love!
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  #43  
Old 02-07-2011, 11:44 PM
Ariakas Ariakas is offline
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Good luck...

Poly can seriously suck. Its a fuck load of work and... sometimes seems like it isn't worth it. Thats a personal decision of course. If you think its worth it to you, then do what you can to make the love in your life work.

And really, seriously, I wish you all the luck in the world... when poly is working... its an incredible time. Treasure it.

Ari
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  #44  
Old 02-08-2011, 01:09 AM
monolicious monolicious is offline
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First, great job talking to your wife's OSO and getting a clear position from her. But, I'll admit a bit of confusion.

In the past, you've called your situation a V but in this post you call it a triad. Not to be a label diva, but that may make a difference, which I will explain in a minute. I'm going to assume it is a V, based on what you've said in the past, and I define that as you NOT being intimately involved with your wife's OSO. You have a love relationship with your wife, your wife has a love relationship with her OSO, but you don't love the OSO and she doesn't love you (at least not on a romantic level).

So, the OSO is mono, and you have indicated she struggles and would really like your wife to herself (much as you yourself would). But when pressed, she says she doesn't want that- she wants you to stay.

Here's the crucial question I have- Why does she want you to stay if she is not poly and not in love with you? What is her motivation? It may be that she does not want to think of herself as someone who ended a marriage. She doesn't want to navigate the struggles it will cause for her and your wife. You're a nice guy and she doesn't want to see you hurt. She wants it because your wife wants it. She fears change. She fears how that change will change her relationship with your wife. She fears given "a have to choose between" situation, that your wife would ultimately choose you. Or something else completely different. It could be that deep down she hopes she can overcome her mono nature and make the V thing work.

You don't make her motivation clear in your post. She may not even know what it is, but I do think it is crucial, because most of those reason I mention above won't be enough to overcome the constant struggle that a mono in a poly sit faces. In my own situation, I'm not even sure a loving, committed relationship of twenty years is going to overcome it.

If I were you, I would ask a big "Why?"

I don't think pining for the simple live of serial monogamy is heresy. I can relate to that on so many levels. Lately, I've been trying to explain to my husband why I love the "closed" relational system of monogamy so much. It's safe, its secure, its simpler, its clearly defined, its not so full of constant ambiguity. At least, my mono marriage wasn't. It was a pleasure, and I'm going to stop apologizing for loving the relationship style I do best, and thrive in.

Yes, I'm not entirely sure that for myself, many more loves=much more happiness. That seems to be an adage of poly that is only true for very poly people in the equation. For the rest of us it tends to equal incredible, painful, struggle.

I know what you mean about being the "decider". It has so much consequence and responsibility attached to it. I have to wonder if your wife's OSO said what she did to avoid being a "decider". And being a decider gets tougher the more you pile on people who are affected by the decision. do you decide what will make the most people happy? What will make you happy? What will make no one happy, but at least no one totally miserable?
And sometimes we want to take action (to decide) just so we can gain back some control and not feel like others are deciding our lives for us. Or we want to decide before someone else decides for us.


I am so sorry to hear you are having a meltdown, but so glad to hear you are getting counseling. Try to take stock of how you feel, and compare that to what is actually happening. You may feel like your world is coming to an end, that you can't do it, that it is too much, that you have no real "good" choice, just a heap of bad ones. I know how that feels and it really sucks.

But, what is actually happening is that you are finding out what you want for your own life. Your wife is finding out what she wants. Her OSO is finding out what she wants. And even your female friend is finding out what she wants (and I so admire he for saying that she only wants to be mono and won't compromise) You are all being loving, and honest, and raw with one another. You are communicating despite very difficult circumstances.

I, for one, am damn impressed with what you've done.

The last piece of advice I'd offer, is don't make any crucial decisions while in meltdown mode. I know that is what meltdown mode says (make it stop, make it stop, make it stop) but get past that voice to a clear head and heart before doing anything life-changing.

One final question on a more personal note. I vaguely remember the mention of kids. How are they doing with all this? I ask because we have two of our own and I'm curious to know how others handle that. Plus, I know that adds a lot of weight to the "decider" thing.

Hang in there. You are amazing and encourage me every time I read your posts.
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  #45  
Old 02-08-2011, 08:23 PM
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In the past, you've called your situation a V but in this post you call it a triad.
I apologize if I got my terminology wrong. I've seen the word "triad" defined on the web as any form of three-person relationship, i.e. a triangle or a vee. In any case, you are correct... our relationship is strictly a vee, not a triangle, with my wife as the fulcrum.

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Originally Posted by monolicious View Post
Here's the crucial question I have- Why does she [the OSO] want you to stay if she is not poly and not in love with you? What is her motivation?
That's a very good question. The OSO gave the following reasons for wanting the three of us together in a vee, as opposed to just stealing my wife away from me:
  1. My wife needs both of us. It would break my wife's heart to lose me.
  2. The OSO would never want to break up a marriage.
  3. The OSO respects me.
Additionally, my wife added that she [my wife] would not be interested in her [the OSO] if she [the OSO] wanted to steal her [my wife] away from me. (The use of pronouns in poly sentences can get a little tricky, huh? ) Also, the OSO might have some fear that my wife (being bi) could fall for another guy down the road if I left her, maybe even leave the OSO for him... but I don't know how significant that fear really is. I'd be speculating.

Both my wife and her OSO feel guilty about what they've done to our relationship so far, and particularly the way in which they did it, i.e. cheating on me for 7 months in front of me without telling me, bonding with my kids during that time, etc. (Clarification: By "cheating", I mean that they fell in love with each other, held hands, kissed (<-- that broke my heart), wrote love messages to one another, not sure how much father they went physically, but they did wait until asking for my permission before becoming completely physically intimate.)

The OSO once told my wife once that "of course" she would want the relationship to be just the two of them (i.e. monogamous), but she's never pushed for that. To the contrary, she's always made conscious steps to keep me in the relationship.

Quote:
Originally Posted by monolicious View Post
I'm not entirely sure that for myself, many more loves=much more happiness. That seems to be an adage of poly that is only true for very poly people in the equation. For the rest of us it tends to equal incredible, painful, struggle.
For my wife, two loves=more happiness, but only when the planets are aligned and everything is working perfectly. Most of the time, she's dealing with the struggle and angst from me, her OSO, or worst of all... both of us at the same time. Couple that with her own guilt, and it's incredibly stressful for her. Additionally, for my wife, less than two loves=more sadness. She fell in love with another woman over twenty years ago, before we even met, and held onto that love in her heart throughout our entire marriage. Yet she was never able to accept herself as being bisexual until just recently, when she met her OSO and knew she needed to be with both of us (me and her OSO). Only after truly accepting herself as bisexual and having a relationship with both of us, has my wife fully blossomed.

The OSO feels miserable whenever I'm intimate with my wife. She doesn't feel compersion for us, but rather it breaks her heart and she struggles with it terribly. Both my wife and her OSO tell me that 90% of their discussions are about me. (My wife loves to talk about me, in a positive way.) And I know it frustrates my OSO that I'm always in the center of my wife's mind. And ironically, I actually feel bad about that... I'd prefer they enjoy each other more when I'm not around. (And I'm also secretly very flattered that my wife loves to talk about me so much! As I love to talk about her to my friends too. Like I said, we're two peas in a pod. )

Quote:
Originally Posted by monolicious View Post
You may feel like [...] you can't do it, that it is too much, that you have no real "good" choice, just a heap of bad ones. I know how that feels and it really sucks. [...] The last piece of advice I'd offer, is don't make any crucial decisions while in meltdown mode. I know that is what meltdown mode says (make it stop, make it stop, make it stop) but get past that voice to a clear head and heart before doing anything life-changing.
You're correct on all accounts. As much as I've tried to be supportive and open minded, I don't know if I can ultimately handle a vee relationship. Furthermore, I've only recently (last night, in fact) finally felt the enormity of emotions about my wife cheating on me. In the past, I was upset at the OSO for her role in the cheating, but I gave my wife a pass because (1) she didn't understand her sexuality (that she was bi) at the time and (2) I love her, and it's easier to hate the mistress than one's spouse. But now I don't see it as any different than a common affair, just some of the genders may be different, and my wife wants her mistress to stay with us forever. That's how I feel when I'm sad about all this... 'tho I'm feeling that way increasingly often nowadays.

As for me, I just want my wife all to myself, "mono-a-mono" so to speak. Everything else -- a vee, an N (with me taking on an OSO of my own), divorce and re-marry, cheat on my wife, have a completely open relationship, etc. -- are in the "heap of bad choices", but those are the only choices I've got. So I have to pick one. But before I'm comfortable doing that, I have to get over my "meltdown mode" and feel emotionally well rooted and stable. Until then, I'm letting it ride without making any big decisions.

If I can make the vee work for me (and for the OSO), then that's what I'd want to do. And I think I've made significant strides towards making it work. As the adage goes, "it feel so close, yet so far away". I think my remaining two hangups are:
  1. I get jealous when my wife spends time with her OSO during times that I consider to be our time together [my wife+me].
  2. I am hurt when the OSO is overly private or keeps secrets from me (even though I recognize they may be personal to her).
For example, the other day, the OSO was out of town and left my wife and I together at home. The OSO accidentally left some childhood pictures of herself at our house. I wanted to snuggle up with my wife and watch some TV together, but she kept texting with her OSO, had her on Skype, and was scanning her photos for her onto the computer. I felt hurt and neglected, particularly since I felt it should finally be our time together. But instead of complaining, I decided to try to make the best of it and get involved with the two of them... make scanning the photos more of a family activity. I asked if I could see the photos too. My wife asked her OSO (over Skype) if that's ok, and the OSO responded that she'd prefer I didn't see them. (And they were just simple childhood family photos... nothing that I would consider private.) That was like a dagger in my heart... that I was not only being neglected during our time together, but that I couldn't even share in this simple activity.

At the same time, I realize that the OSO is an incredibly private and shy person. And she's told me more private things about herself than she's told her best friends from childhood, so I'm flattered. But I'm also still hurt whenever I feel excluded, particularly on things that don't seem all that private.

On a separate note, I'm also hurt that my wife has such mono feelings about me finding an OSO of my own. She doesn't know if she could still be with me if I was ever with another woman. It makes me wonder:
  • If having an OSO (like my wife has) is ok and wonderful, then why won't she [my wife] let me have an OSO as well?
  • Or if having an OSO is wrong, then why does my wife have one?
It's not that I particularly even want an OSO at this time (maybe in the future, who knows?), but I want to have the same options that my wife chose for herself. When pressed, my wife will say it's ok, but there's a tremendous amount of restrictions, fear, and angst that comes along with that, and she always warns that she's still not sure if she'd be able to be intimate with me anymore if I ever had an OSO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by monolicious View Post
One final question on a more personal note. I vaguely remember the mention of kids. How are they doing with all this? I ask because we have two of our own and I'm curious to know how others handle that. Plus, I know that adds a lot of weight to the "decider" thing.
Yes, we have two children, ages 7 and 10. We have a wonderful, loving household. And they both absolutely adore the OSO. They don't know the relationship we all have, but we'll explain it to them when they're older, and I'm confident they'll be fine with it. Furthermore, they want the OSO to live with us forever and consider her part of our family.

I love this. But occasionally, I get brief flashbacks of the movie The Hand That Rocks The Cradle. Again, if we can make the vee work, then it could truly be wonderful. But if we need to divorce (because I can't handle the vee), then I'd be breaking up our family. It really sucks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by monolicious View Post
First, great job talking to your wife's OSO and getting a clear position from her. [...] I am [...] so glad to hear you are getting counseling. [...] You are all being loving, and honest, and raw with one another. You are communicating despite very difficult circumstances. I, for one, am damn impressed with what you've done. [...] Hang in there. You are amazing and encourage me every time I read your posts.
OMG, I don't know what I'd do if not for all the encouragement and support I've received from this group! You have all been wonderful, and I want to hug you all!
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  #46  
Old 02-09-2011, 02:41 AM
monolicious monolicious is offline
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You are probably right about the term "triad" meaning three without specifying the configuration. I'm still learning myself what all these labels indicate, but mainly I wanted to clarify what your relationship with wife's OSO was and how that might influence various decisions/motives.

The reasons she gave for wanting you to stay were some of the ones I guessed. Not that any of those reasons is invalid. I'm just not sure they are strong enough to hold together three mono-people trying to be a poly for the long haul. Who knows.

"Additionally, my wife added that she [my wife] would not be interested in her [the OSO] if she [the OSO] wanted to steal her [my wife] away from me."

This is true in my situation for my husband as well. However, the problem is that what we want our actions to result in, and what they actually result in can be two very different things. I believe that her main motive isn't to steal your wife away. Her main motive is love for your wife. Just as your wife's main motive in poly is not to destroy her relationship with you, it was to find more fulfilling love. Despite all that, the fact remains that what we want isn't always what happens, even with the best of intentions.

"The OSO once told my wife once that "of course" she would want the relationship to be just the two of them (i.e. monogamous), but she's never pushed for that. To the contrary, she's always made conscious steps to keep me in the relationship."

The above is actually pretty amazing. From what you've said in this post and others, she obviously doesn't feel like sharing your wife, and yet she is taking actions to do so. It is possible that eventually her feelings will follow this choice of action, or it is possible things will tip the other way. I don't know.

"For my wife, two loves=more happiness, but only when the planets are aligned and everything is working perfectly. Most of the time, she's dealing with the struggle and angst from me, her OSO, or worst of all... both of us at the same time. Couple that with her own guilt, and it's incredibly stressful for her. Additionally, for my wife, less than two loves=more sadness. She fell in love with another woman over twenty years ago, before we even met, and held onto that love in her heart throughout our entire marriage. Yet she was never able to accept herself as being bisexual until just recently, when she met her OSO and knew she needed to be with both of us (me and her OSO). Only after truly accepting herself as bisexual and having a relationship with both of us, has my wife fully blossomed."


This paragraph shows such an amazing, deep, compassionate understanding love for your wife, who she is as a person and her process. Thank you for sharing it. It is beautiful.

"Furthermore, I've only recently (last night, in fact) finally felt the enormity of emotions about my wife cheating on me."

I can very much relate to this. When my husband first began to act on his poly, I didn't realize that I was operating in pure survival mode. Everything I did was out of fear and the desperate desire to keep my marriage from imploding. I told myself everything was going to be okay, and I acted like it was, and I tamped down all the hurt, fear, and grief to deal with later when I felt "safer". How do I know this? Because eventually, that stuff don't stay tamped down anymore. It came burbling up in a big flood about 4 months into my husband's first relationship. The really hard thing was that my husband was totally surprised and I felt bad about melting down- like I'd been lying up until then that I was okay. But I hadn't been lying, or even intentionally avoiding my issues. It just took me a while to understand enough to even feel what I was feeling.- almost like post-traumatic stress.

I too still find it very hard to put any responsibility or negative emotion onto my husband. I love him so much. Love is supposed to want someone to be happy and fulfilled. And so I do divert those feelings to his OSO (when he had one) or often even to myself (was there something I could have done to prevent all this?), rather than feel horrible about the one I love.

"If I can make the vee work for me (and for the OSO), then that's what I'd want to do. And I think I've made significant strides towards making it work. As the adage goes, "it feel so close, yet so far away". I think my remaining two hangups are:
1. I get jealous when my wife spends time with her OSO during times that I consider to be our time together [my wife+me].
2. I am hurt when the OSO is overly private or keeps secrets from me (even though I recognize they may be personal to her)."


So, great job identifying what you'd want to do- your first choice (so to speak), and the main issues keeping you from that goal. I think I need to run off and write something like this for myself.

It seems to me that the issues you have are not insurmountable. The first one needs to be shared with your wife. Tell her the exact example you mention in this post and how you would have liked it to happen instead. Carve out special time that is just for you two and put some guidelines in place so that the OSO doesn't creep in. This is a totally reasonable thing to ask for and expect to get. You are not being selfish. You are asking for your needs to be met. In addition, you may want to encourage your wife to give the same thing to your OSO- time together NOT talking about or focusing on you. From what you've described the OSO may be wandering into your alone time with your wife because hers is always being invaded by you in spirit as well. This is really on your wife to correct, as she is the one with a relationship with you both.

The second may be a little tougher. I would say share it with the OSO if you can, and explain how you felt about the photo thing. I often felt the same way with my husband's OSO (especially since I was sharing the most important, private, intimate, special thing in my life with her My Husband.

I would say this about declaring these as "your two remaining hang-ups". If you are anything like me, when I wipe away two hang-ups, four more move in to take their place. Heck. My hang-ups have hang-ups. Things you haven't even encountered yet are going to bother you in the future. I'm not saying that to depress you, just to prepare you.

As for being hurt by your wife's double-relationship standard, I think you are right to feel that way. She is asking you to do something extremely difficult out of love that she isn't willing to do herself. Ouch! That isn't fair. And in my opinion, it isn't right. It seems to indicate a lack of being able to put herself in your shoes- also known as empathy. Have you asked her the questions you pose below?
* If having an OSO (like my wife has) is ok and wonderful, then why won't she [my wife] let me have an OSO as well?
* Or if having an OSO is wrong, then why does my wife have one?
Her answer seems to indicate that she truly believes she could not handle you in a poly relationship- that it would destroy what you have. How then can she expect you to handle it and for it not to destroy what you have? I don't understand.

So glad to hear the children are doing well, and that they love your wife's OSO. My own children are teens and we told them all along the way about the poly thing because we knew they would know something was going on and that their fears would probably be worse than the truth. They are both weathering it very well, I am happy to say.

"But if we need to divorce (because I can't handle the vee), then I'd be breaking up our family. It really sucks."

I am in the same position, and it makes me wonder how all this got to be on my head? Because I was a committed, loyal, loving, monogamous wife for 20 years, now I have to live with something incredibly hard for me to navigate, or I can choose something else and maybe (no guarantees) find a new happiness but make everyone I love now miserable. Yeah, it sucks. How did love end up failing me like this when it was the one thing I was so sure of for the last 20 years? It makes me begin to question everything else I've ever felt sure of.

The ultimate question for you and I is, I think, can we do this and will it be worth it if we do?
I wish I knew the answer.

Personally, I think I have decided for myself to stay in, loving my husband, as best I can for as long as I can until I can't anymore. When I think about enduring poly for the next 20-40 years, I freak out. When I think about loving my husband today, and tomorrow, I feel happy and hopeful.

Happiness and hope to you as well.
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  #47  
Old 02-09-2011, 06:05 AM
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Hello, I don't post often as I'm exploring other aspects of my relationships right now...however....I've been married 20 years, and we've been poly for 2. (Second anniversary next month...woohooo!) I went into poly with my eyes open, but I later found out that Easy (my husband) and Asha (our girlfriend) had been building a (chaste) relationship for years. I felt betrayed, like they had cheated, but I have to admit that if we had never become poly it would probably not have bothered me. He was allowed to love others, but the *sex* was *sacred*. <insert wry self-deprecation here>

Anyway, can I just say, you have the option of requesting your wife's full attention when you feel that you should be having intimate time? It might not have occurred to her that she was neglecting you. The worst that she can say is no, and then you can open a dialogue into why not and what is reasonable. *Not* saying anything just leaves you open to building resentment, and believe me, you don't want to be around when built-up resentment explodes. <shudder> I've found over the last two years that often, when I don't speak up, my partners have no idea that their behavior looked to me like rejection. It's hard to get around that "but if they love me they'll ask" mindset, but the simple fact of the matter is that people think differently, and no one wins if you keep your needs secret. Just ask. And, honestly, it is *your* responsibility to ask for what you need...you're the only one who has a vested interest in getting it.

Second, I'm seeing red flags in the way that you say your girlfriend is waiting for you in case you change your mind about being mono and that you might divorce your wife. Then you wonder why she's having a hard time with jealousy? She has no idea where she stands with you. She does love you, her OSO does not replace you, and it would hurt her if you left regardless of who else she's dating. It would be kinder if you decided what you're doing. And the idea that you could "live happily ever after" with this other girl? That's NRE and complete lack of history talking. Of course she looks like she's easier. You haven't built a history with her, you haven't paid bills and raised kids and gone through tragedies with her. Yes, you might live happily ever after with her--but I would like to put forward that you have *no idea* yet whether that's true. You haven't gone through the bad times with her yet.

Third, your kids know. Surprise! I *never* told my 12 year old. She told me. They have eyes, and unless you're extraordinarily careful, they pick up things. So be careful who you introduce into the household.

It's hard to adjust to poly, but feeling jealous and insecure doesn't necessarily mean you're mono. I still feel scared every time I can't figure out where I stand. I still feel insecure every time that Easy and Asha "click" and I can see how alike they are. I still feel rejected every time they do an activity that I wanted to be a part of. I was in tears two weeks ago because I asked to be included and Easy forgot. Human beings mess up. All relationships have hard bits. But you know what makes it all worthwhile to me? Looking at Easy and seeing the smile in his eyes when he and Asha are pushing each other's buttons. It took me a while to figure it out, but I *like* seeing Easy happy when he's around Asha, even when it's hard for me. She's filling a need for him. I sincerely hope he's filling a need for her.
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  #48  
Old 02-09-2011, 04:55 PM
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Thank you again for everyone's kind words.

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Originally Posted by Lemondrop View Post
Anyway, can I just say, you have the option of requesting your wife's full attention when you feel that you should be having intimate time? It might not have occurred to her that she was neglecting you. [...] *Not* saying anything just leaves you open to building resentment, and believe me, you don't want to be around when built-up resentment explodes. <shudder> I've found over the last two years that often, when I don't speak up, my partners have no idea that their behavior looked to me like rejection.
I agree. When I discussed that event to my wife and her OSO, they were both surprised that it had such an impact on me. I don't think they thought anything of it at the time.

That said, I *did* tell my wife that I wanted her attention at the time, but she told me she was busy. That's why I tried to participate in the activity instead. I guess I could have put more emphasis on my needs to be with her, and that I considered it to be our time together... it's just a fine line between speaking up and sparking an argument, or hurting the OSO's feelings if I pull my wife away from her.

I believe economists call this the principle of "scarce resources", i.e. my wife's time and attention. Both me and the OSO wanted my wife's attention, my wife probably wanted some time to herself as well to scan some photos, and there just wasn't enough of her to go around. Couple that with me feeling a bit low/neglected from previous events that week, and I just didn't handle it well.

SPEAK UP. <-- I have to remember this, particularly when I'm feeling a bit down in the first place.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemondrop View Post
Second, I'm seeing red flags in the way that you say your girlfriend is waiting for you in case you change your mind about being mono and that you might divorce your wife. Then you wonder why she's having a hard time with jealousy? She has no idea where she stands with you. [...] It would be kinder if you decided what you're doing.
Just to clarify, she's definitely not a girlfriend. We only went out on a couple dates, and even then, we only talked... didn't even hold hands. And the jealousy started before the first date. My wife thought we'd just go out for a cup of coffee to start, and she was even giving me hints on what to say, how to act, to brush my teeth , etc. so as not to scare her away. (Is my breath really THAT bad? ) But when she found out we set up a dinner date, that was way faster than she expected, and she got scared.

Furthermore, I was feeling a bit like a puppet on a string being controlled on how to date... briefed on what to say, do, act, given a couple jokes to say, etc. lol I guess it's kind of funny thinking about it now. Poly relationships definitely result in strange situations... great material for movies and sitcoms.

For example, my wife was upset that I was out on my first date so long, and that I didn't at least call or text her in the middle of the date to let her know how it was going. I told her: "I'm sorry... I'm just not used to texting my wife in the middle of a first date." And then I'd hear what I just said, and we'd both laugh (or groan).

In any case, I'm not seeing this other woman anymore. No more dates. I want to make my marriage work (poly it may be) if possible. And even if it doesn't work, I'm not convinced that this other woman is the right one for me. Instead, the bigger question is: do I really need to be in a mono relationship more than I want to stay with my wife? That's what I'm struggling with, but I'm making a conscious decision to put my heart with my wife, seek counseling (because I really DO need help to get over the feelings of betrayal from her cheating), and hope for the best.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemondrop View Post
And the idea that you could "live happily ever after" with this other girl? That's NRE and complete lack of history talking. Of course she looks like she's easier. You haven't built a history with her, you haven't paid bills and raised kids and gone through tragedies with her. Yes, you might live happily ever after with her--but I would like to put forward that you have *no idea* yet whether that's true. You haven't gone through the bad times with her yet.
Again I agree. And I would never want to leave my wife for another woman... that's way too of an ephemeral thing, or as you put it, driven entirely by NRE. That's why I waited for my emotions to settle, got closure with the other woman, and was able to decide to continue trying to save my relationship with my wife.

That said, it's still a very fragile relationship, at least for me. I'm not comfortable committing to it yet because I know I'm not ready, and that my emotions have flip-flopped several times over the past two months since my wife first told me about her OSO and asked for us to be poly.
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  #49  
Old 02-09-2011, 06:52 PM
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Carma Carma is offline
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"But if we need to divorce (because I can't handle the vee), then I'd be breaking up our family. It really sucks."

I am in the same position, and it makes me wonder how all this got to be on my head? Because I was a committed, loyal, loving, monogamous wife for 20 years, now I have to live with something incredibly hard for me to navigate, or I can choose something else and maybe (no guarantees) find a new happiness but make everyone I love now miserable. Yeah, it sucks. ]How did love end up failing me like this when it was the one thing I was so sure of for the last 20 years? It makes me begin to question everything else I've ever felt sure of.
----------------------------


I felt this way, but I was the one falling in love with a second person!!!

Love failed me. I loved my husband. I had been a good wife, faithful and dedicated, for 8 years. I NEVER saw this one coming. At the time I was very religious, and I kept praying not to love the other man. I could not understand why god would do this to me. God is love? Why was I so confused? I tried to believe it was just infatuation, but it wasn't -- it was undeniably love. This was not some stranger; he was my neighbor, my friend. He was hurting and all I wanted was to make his life better in any and every way I could. I tried to see where my marriage had gone wrong -- but it hadn't; I still loved my husband very much. He was everything a husband should be, and more. I kept thinking "Follow your heart" but MY heart was betraying me.

Sometimes it feels like it still is. Poly is HARD. But denying my heart was worse. So I'm finding support here in this forum, where I'm not alone, my heart is not some crazy defective mutant, and I can get another perspective on love and relationships, other than the conventional view that said I was terrible and wrong and selfish and foolish. What a new thought, that I didn't have to be "torn between two lovers" -- I didn't have to pick one or the other, I could actually have a heart big enough to love two!

Thanks to all of you here. I'd be lost without you!!!
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Old 02-09-2011, 08:03 PM
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Magdlyn Magdlyn is offline
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Hey this is a really great conversation. Hugs and respect to you all.

I just noticed some of you dont seem to know how to quote others properly.

If you click on quote instead of reply, the entire post you want to reference will show up in your reply box. Anything you don't want to quote you can highlight and backspace to delete. Surround the bits you do want to quote with quote tags. [ quote ] at the beginning and [ /quote ] at the end (without the spaces). Voila, you'll get those nice neat boxes of quotes.
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Love withers under constraint; its very essence is liberty. It is compatible neither with envy, jealousy or fear. It is there most pure, perfect and unlimited when its votaries live in confidence, equality and unreserve. -- Shelley

me: Mags, 59, living with:
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