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  #21  
Old 04-27-2011, 09:17 PM
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That's a good point actually. Saying to her that you just want to see if she is okay might be an idea. I'm a big fan of letting people know that I am asking for my own feelings to be soothed as much as to give them a chance to sooth thier's. I often say things like, "you don't have to go into a a bunch of stuff but could you give me some idea that you have been thinking about things and where you are getting with that?"
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  #22  
Old 04-27-2011, 10:58 PM
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Like everyone else has said, give it time. My gut reaction is that her saying that she is going to move away and take your child with her is borne out of the fear of the unknown. It's wonderful that you have been honest with her. The 2 of you are doing all the right things by being honest and seeing someone who can help ask the questions for you to be able to move forward.

There is always the chance that non-monogamy will always be a deal breaker for your wife. In that case the focus will have to be on your son and how to best co-parent without being married anymore. It's way too early to say if that's the way it's going to go yet.

Is there a local poly group where your wife can meet some people who are poly and who's lives are going well? Maybe even meet the mono wife of a poly man? Sometimes seeing that it can be done and it can work for everyone involved can help. (It might be too soon for such a move though...although doing the research now for when she is ready might be a good idea).

Court your wife again. Take her out places that she likes to go and do things that the 2 of you haven't done together for years. Chances are she's feeling like you want to replace her for someone younger/hotter. She needs to feel that you cherish her. For a while that might really mean going above and beyond with the romance and dating.

Hope that helps a bit.

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  #23  
Old 04-27-2011, 11:48 PM
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I think it's great that you've been honest with her. As for her telling you she'd leave and take your child, if he's in his early teens he already has the legal right to make that decision of who he wants to live with and she's not allowed to make it for him.
Well, it depends where you live. I'd check on that, but where I'm from it starts at 13, which is the earliest teen there is.

Otherwise, her "if you are going to be poly I'm going to leave you" in itself isn't blackmail. It's honest, just like "If I'm not allowed to be poly with your consent, I'll probably cheat without it instead" isn't blackmail but honest.

If you can't live without poly and she can't live with it, breaking up makes perfect sense to me. Of course in your case there is a child to think about, who hasn't asked for any of this, and it's very sad that it's turning out to be that way.

Personally I think that being honest is the best you can do. You cannot control your feelings and you have controlled your actions, which is the most you can do. You have told her about the way she felt, and what did you expect her to do? She was given the option to either stay with who you are or leave who you are, and it seems divorce is what she wants between the two.

If she doesn't want affection anymore and she doesn't tell you she loves you and doesn't want to say it either, it seems to me she's made her decision. You can try and make things better, but with what you know (that you aren't fundamentally compatible) is that really the best option? Wouldn't it just drag on a relationship that wouldn't work anyways?

I don't know, it seems that people are often on the side of "make the relationship keep going!" even when it seems that it would hurt everyone involved. In this case, your wife, you and your son. I'm certainly not in that case. I think some things can be worked around and compromised around, and polyamory sometimes is one of them, but right now only you are willing to compromise and meet her halfway, and she's going "walk the other half, sucker!" so I fail to see how it could get anywhere at all.
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  #24  
Old 04-28-2011, 06:28 AM
MorningTwilight MorningTwilight is offline
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Originally Posted by Derbylicious View Post
Like everyone else has said, give it time. My gut reaction is that her saying that she is going to move away and take your child with her is borne out of the fear of the unknown.
Yes, I completely agree, and I believe that her mindset right now is so completely screaming fear that I just want to give her time to feel what she feels, and when the intensity of that feeling relaxes, then we can fill in the missing pieces so that they are no longer unknown.

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Originally Posted by Derbylicious View Post
It's wonderful that you have been honest with her. The 2 of you are doing all the right things by being honest and seeing someone who can help ask the questions for you to be able to move forward.

There is always the chance that non-monogamy will always be a deal breaker for your wife. In that case the focus will have to be on your son and how to best co-parent without being married anymore. It's way too early to say if that's the way it's going to go yet.
I agree with this, too. It is also too early for a decision to be made one way or the other, though that is exactly what she says she wants from me right now. She told me that she is withholding saying that she loves me, and does not want affection from me, because she is afraid of being hurt if I choose polyamory (I didn't go into the fact that, for me, I did not choose it--it chose me). She does not, at this time, find my willingness to put polyamory aside and focus on us acceptable, because she knows that means that at some point, it won't STAY put aside, and she'll have to deal with this again.

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Is there a local poly group where your wife can meet some people who are poly and who's lives are going well?
This is Austin, Texas. I'm certain that there is.

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Originally Posted by Derbylicious View Post
Maybe even meet the mono wife of a poly man? Sometimes seeing that it can be done and it can work for everyone involved can help. (It might be too soon for such a move though...although doing the research now for when she is ready might be a good idea).
Yes, it's far too soon, I think, but this is an excellent idea, and talking to such a couple would be very good for me, too. There's a great yawning chasm between the way I see the world and the way she sees the world, and just understanding how bridging that gap is even possible--in a kind, patient, compassionate way--would do us a world of good.

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Originally Posted by Derbylicious View Post
Court your wife again. Take her out places that she likes to go and do things that the 2 of you haven't done together for years. Chances are she's feeling like you want to replace her for someone younger/hotter. She needs to feel that you cherish her. For a while that might really mean going above and beyond with the romance and dating.

Hope that helps a bit.
It does, but the unfortunate truth right now is that she does not want to be courted. She wants to protect herself from being hurt while she hopes that I choose to continue our monogamous relationship. Even as she says that, she says she's not sure she can ever completely trust me again; thus, I fear that unless we can bridge the divide somehow, my marriage is well and truly fucked, and it's all my fault.

I'm not giving up just yet, though (boy, would that be stupid!). We're going to change from me seeing the counselor to us seeing the counselor, and see where that goes.

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Originally Posted by Tonberry View Post
I think it's great that you've been honest with her. As for her telling you she'd leave and take your child, if he's in his early teens he already has the legal right to make that decision of who he wants to live with and she's not allowed to make it for him.
Well, it depends where you live. I'd check on that, but where I'm from it starts at 13, which is the earliest teen there is.
Sure, but that is still a terrible position to put him in. I've been there myself, when I was a child. It shaped fundamentally what I thought I believed about marriage--I wanted to be as sure as I could possibly be that I was really and truly in love with The One, and that it was going to be for life, not thrown away just because it got difficult. And, of course, part of all of that was the monogamous social conditioning, to the point that I repressed my poly feelings for years, felt ashamed of them, and hated myself for them. That, at least, is done.

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Originally Posted by Tonberry View Post
Otherwise, her "if you are going to be poly I'm going to leave you" in itself isn't blackmail. It's honest, just like "If I'm not allowed to be poly with your consent, I'll probably cheat without it instead" isn't blackmail but honest.
I get what you're saying, but making a statement like that would end it, I'm certain. Maybe it needs to end. I sure hope not.

She broached the possibility of living as roommates instead of as husband and wife, for the sake of both of us being here for our son. I think she'd hate that (such self-sacrifice breeds resentment, and there is not one damned noble thing about that--it's more social conditioning that we should all put into the bin just as fast as we possibly can), and even if we cannot agree on how to live together, I don't want her to be miserable. I do, honest and truly, still love her. It's a hard problem, given that we both love our son and want the best for him. I could even see stuffing poly, as hard as that would be, for the remaining years until he's grown, but if my wife will not trust me, the marriage would still be a sham. I can potentially live mono for a few more years, but I cannot live without love, affection, and companionship.

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Originally Posted by Tonberry View Post
If you can't live without poly and she can't live with it, breaking up makes perfect sense to me. Of course in your case there is a child to think about, who hasn't asked for any of this, and it's very sad that it's turning out to be that way.

Personally I think that being honest is the best you can do. You cannot control your feelings and you have controlled your actions, which is the most you can do. You have told her about the way she felt, and what did you expect her to do? She was given the option to either stay with who you are or leave who you are, and it seems divorce is what she wants between the two.
I did not make an ultimatum. I had hoped that, once the initial shock wore off, that negotiation of boundaries and baby steps could begin. She's pushing for a conclusion rather more quickly, and I'm trying to beg her off until the emotions subside. I told her that I thought that making such big decisions while we were both emotional was foolish, and she did not disagree. Understandably, she doesn't want to feel like she has to protectively cocoon herself indefinitely, so to the counselor we go, to see if we can at least temporarily resolve the impasse.

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Originally Posted by Tonberry View Post
If she doesn't want affection anymore and she doesn't tell you she loves you and doesn't want to say it either, it seems to me she's made her decision. You can try and make things better, but with what you know (that you aren't fundamentally compatible) is that really the best option? Wouldn't it just drag on a relationship that wouldn't work anyways?
What you say may certainly be true. I do not think, though--especially given that we have a child together--that four days is long enough to just throw in the towel on a relationship that spans nearly two decades. I don't think you think so, either, but I do hear what you are saying, and I agree with you.

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Originally Posted by Tonberry View Post
I don't know, it seems that people are often on the side of "make the relationship keep going!" even when it seems that it would hurt everyone involved. In this case, your wife, you and your son. I'm certainly not in that case. I think some things can be worked around and compromised around, and polyamory sometimes is one of them, but right now only you are willing to compromise and meet her halfway, and she's going "walk the other half, sucker!" so I fail to see how it could get anywhere at all.
It's only been four days. I'm the one who dropped this bomb on her, so it's up to me to step up and be patient and generous. I'll not wait forever, but it seems shallow and self-absorbed to just give up without first trying REALLY HARD to make it work, and part of that means waiting for the shock to wear off. I don't think we can get anywhere until that happens.

Thanks for your thoughts, everyone.
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  #25  
Old 04-28-2011, 05:52 PM
opalescent opalescent is offline
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Even as she says that, she says she's not sure she can ever completely trust me again
MT, Beloved and I broke up for almost two years. When we broke up, even though it was a mutual decision, my world collapsed. I could not figure out what or why it had happened, even though there was an obvious reason - she wanted children and I did not. I thought we were happy, and then we weren't? What else was going on that I missed?

Nothing made sense to me. I didn't trust her because I did not trust myself anymore. Our breakup destroyed my sense of self, who I was, what I understood to be my 'place' in the world, how I understood everything around me, how I understood my self to be. It is one of the most painful, most disorienting experiences of my life.

Your wife probably has had a very similar experience. I bet nothing makes sense to her. You don't make sense to her. She thought she knew you intimately. She thought she knew what marriage was, what your marriage was specifically. Now she doesn't.

She may be saying she does not trust you in part because nothing in her world makes sense anymore. I know I did not trust Beloved because my foundation was gone. Your wife may be in a similar place.

Beloved and I did get back together - it was really hard. I had to rebuild my sense of self and sense of what the world is and how I live in it. But we did it and while we still are challenged by all kinds of things (distance, managing poly, money), we are happy together.
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  #26  
Old 04-28-2011, 09:24 PM
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Austin texas! There is a large community there. There are quite a few on the fb group I admin. Feel free to pm me and let me know if you want to join it so as to meet people. You'd have to friend me first though
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  #27  
Old 04-28-2011, 09:41 PM
MorningTwilight MorningTwilight is offline
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(...broke up over fundamental disagreement over having children...)

Nothing made sense to me. I didn't trust her because I did not trust myself anymore. Our breakup destroyed my sense of self, who I was, what I understood to be my 'place' in the world, how I understood everything around me, how I understood my self to be. It is one of the most painful, most disorienting experiences of my life.

Your wife probably has had a very similar experience. I bet nothing makes sense to her. You don't make sense to her. She thought she knew you intimately. She thought she knew what marriage was, what your marriage was specifically. Now she doesn't.

She may be saying she does not trust you in part because nothing in her world makes sense anymore. I know I did not trust Beloved because my foundation was gone. Your wife may be in a similar place.
Thank you. That makes a lot of sense.

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Austin texas! There is a large community there. There are quite a few on the fb group I admin. Feel free to pm me and let me know if you want to join it so as to meet people. You'd have to friend me first though
I'd love to, but I'm not quite ready to be "out" just yet. I'd like the shelter of anonymity while my wife comes to terms with all of this.

On that note, a promising development that set me aglow: this morning, as I was getting out of the shower, she came to me in tears, saying that she really wants us to work, and that she loves me, and we held hands and kissed. She's still very afraid of getting hurt, and it's on me to help her with that.

I'm very excited at the possibility that so long as I'm not a callous screwup, I'm not going to lose my wife!
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  #28  
Old 04-28-2011, 10:00 PM
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I'd love to, but I'm not quite ready to be "out" just yet. I'd like the shelter of anonymity while my wife comes to terms with all of this.
Ahh, but it is one of the "secret" groups (don't know the exact name). It's private and no one else can view it, unless they are in the group. It doesn't show up on your info page or anything else. Now if your wife signs on to your fb that's another story. Even when you post a comment, it doesn't show up on your wall. I'm sure half the people on it wouldn't be there if it did.
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  #29  
Old 04-28-2011, 11:14 PM
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I wasn't trying to say "give up and break up", just trying to offer a differing viewpoint.
I think your wife has been honest about the way she feels and what she's comfortable with or not at this point, and in my opinion it's better than if she pretended she was fine with in when she actually wasn't.

I think I differ from a lot of people by thinking that sometimes, staying together is bad for a relationship, and people are likely to stay n relationship past their expiration date and make things worse.

This being said, it's true that four days isn't much at all. I hope you guys get better, but I'm not sure what to suggest as I don't know your wife. I'm not sure what would get her to trust you, I expect your opening to her was a shocking experience for her and it's going to be harder for her to trust you than before, even though you've proven more trustworthy than you used to be (since you were honest instead of hiding it some more).
Maybe in time she'll understand that since you were honest with her, there is no reason for her to think you're going to go behind her back. That would be more likely of someone who did not admit they can develop feelings for others.

I understand that you don't want your son to go through that, of course. I was just saying that it's likely to be an empty threat from your wife and that I wouldn't take it at face value, but more try and understand what prompted her to say that. Maybe she felt you took something important from her and she wanted to get you back by doing the same and taking your son away (or threaten to do so) for instance.

I'm not sure how the roommate idea might work. I've known people for whom it worked, but they didn't love each other anymore and were friends more than anything.
By the way, her daughter reacted terribly when she learned they had stayed together for her sake.
I think it might be easier to be honest with your kid right away than have them learn in retrospect that because of him, you had to keep living together for years. Then again, I guess it depends on your kid, but I'm usually on the side of honesty. Things get figured out at some point and it's that much worse when you realise you've been lied to for years.
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Old 04-29-2011, 02:08 AM
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On that note, a promising development that set me aglow: this morning, as I was getting out of the shower, she came to me in tears, saying that she really wants us to work, and that she loves me, and we held hands and kissed. She's still very afraid of getting hurt, and it's on me to help her with that.

I'm very excited at the possibility that so long as I'm not a callous screwup, I'm not going to lose my wife!
Awww, thank you for sharing that beautiful moment with us. It is promising. When people love each other, they can find strength to face so much more than they ever thought possible. I have no doubts that you did your best to set her mind at ease this morning.

And I think it's obvious to all here that you are not a "callous screw-up."
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