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Old 05-01-2011, 03:40 AM
MorningTwilight MorningTwilight is offline
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Originally Posted by Indigomontoya View Post
Well first and foremost I think you are confused by your wife's actions and words because she is confused by them too.
No doubt. I do not want to mislead her, or let her go merrily along believing something of which she has convinced herself, but which is not true (and in the bigger picture, that applies to what she may believe about open marriages in general--we haven't even yet gotten to the discussion of "what is polyamory" or of how, specifically, I see us practicing it. I think it's too soon for that).

Originally Posted by Indigomontoya View Post
Speaking from experience she needs reassurance (as it has been mentioned) because I imagine she is feeling less than adequate to put it mildly. No matter how you have explained it or rationalized your mindset to her inevitably she is feeling unwanted and feels like now she is in direct competition for a prize (you) she thought she had already won.
This is a profound statement. I have already, for myself, subscribed to the notion that, when the time comes that I'm seeing others, one of the rules is "anyone who tries to break us up is GONE." I'm not sure if that would reassure her or not, as for now, I've pledged to put other relationships on hold so that we can work on us, and I don't want it to seem like I'm going back on that.

Word and deed. It's not enough to say words to her; I believe that I have to show her that I mean what I say as well, so that she can see and trust that I'm telling her the truth that I love her and do not want to leave her.

Originally Posted by Indigomontoya View Post
Best thing you can do is reassure her that you love her and that while this change is something you need, the "new you" is still in love with her.

Any insecurities she had about herself, your relationship, or her life in general just had a magnifying glass put on them by telling her; by no means should you have not told her, but be prepared for peaks and valleys of being ok or not ok with poly.
OK, yes. I should have known it would be this way.

Originally Posted by Indigomontoya View Post
I think her actions with the time spent together (your self described NRE with your wife) are her attempt to show you she can be what she thinks you want her to be, she may be trying to show you she can be what you are looking for. I say this because at first I saw poly as just a way for TP to sleep with other people (it wasn't but that's how my emotional side viewed it) and I imagine your wife might have the same feelings and is trig to compensate for shortcomings she thinks you believe she has. Reassurance is key, and honesty about what you really want (physical vs. Emotional for poly.)

I should point out that when TP and I first started dating she made it clear that she wanted nonmongamy but was willing to work up the trust before opening the relationship; your wife didn't have that benefit. Hard question time: do you want to stay married and be nonmonagmous? Or are you convincing yourself you still want to be married for your son and because it's the status quo? So it comes down to you really wanting nonmongamy or saying you want it to rationalize feelings for other people and a wandering eye? (neither are bad but there's a distinction to be made between those and Poly.)
In the best of all possible worlds, I would remain married and nonmonogamous. I still love her very, very much. My son is a HUGE consideration, of course. I do not want to damage him with divorce and separation, and I will go to considerable lengths to avoid that. Earlier in the week, my wife had told me that she believed that, too, and that for his sake, she'd rather live as roommates than break up our family. I'm not sure how that would go with him, but I do believe it would be better than living in separate homes or in separate states.

I was, of course, overjoyed on Thursday when she told me that she wanted me to make it work, and Friday was the most intensely passionate day that I can ever remember spending with her--even moreso than when we were newlyweds.

Originally Posted by Indigomontoya View Post
Ultimately your honest[y] is your biggest credit right now but dont take her mixed messages at face value; as was said she needs to know you value her feelings in this.
Thanks. It's hard to tell what to take at face value vs. what is coming from fear and insecurity. Everything that I've been able to find about opening up a marriage has vagaries and platitudes about "go slow, be compassionate," etc. None of them have any specifics about what to say to reassure your partner, or what you might experience as you ride the roller coaster.

Originally Posted by TruckerPete View Post
This, especially. She may very well be trying to show you that you don't need anyone else.
This occurred to me.

Originally Posted by TruckerPete View Post
If this is the case, it will be very important to clarify that the enthusiasm you had for having your wife back should not be confused with admitting you were wrong and you don't want anyone but her.
This is what I think she thinks at the moment.

Originally Posted by TruckerPete View Post
I would also suggest taking a read through Freetime's thread, here: http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=7618

Notice how he oscillates between being okay, being great, and also thinking his marriage is done. It's a very real accounting of how the mono partner feels.
Thanks. I will. There's a lot there, and I think that it will be more helpful than most of what I have been able to find.

Originally Posted by TruckerPete View Post
That said, I think Freetime made HUGE progress, very quickly, so don't expect your wife to do the same.
Thank you. That's important for me to continue to keep in mind.

Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
I agree that your wife likely feels threatened by your revelation and is focusing on the sexual aspect that she probably sees as the reason why you want to explore polyamory. If I were her, I'd be doing the same thing, trying to make you "see what you'd be missing" if you went elsewhere, and give you reasons to want me more and forget about this "silly" idea you have. It is very easy to feel totally insecure about being desired. Plus, most woman know that a man can become pretty drunk on sex, which puts them in better shape to be convinced of something (that's just intuitive, not necessarily manipulative).
Yes, I think this is where she is right now with all of this, and I think that she thinks she has at least started convincing me of that, if not having already convinced me.

Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
She is probably absolutely terrified of your choosing someone else over her, or of leaving her. Terror is extreme fear, but the quality of being unseen or unknown sets it apart from horror, which is what we feel when confronted head-on and we see what it is we're horrified by. (...expectations of how life was going to go are gone, and that's scary...)

Plus, I think that your "confession" has thrown her for a loop; it doesn't make sense to her. She is grasping at the most obvious "reason" she can find for what she sees as a complete 360° about-face on your part, of course not understanding how you've struggled for so long.
Yes. I think I'm going to have to (gently) remind her of that--I've made a good long run of "trying it that (the monogamous) way," and it doesn't work for me. I've actually come to resent the "forsaking all others" portion of the marriage vow, in fact, as a cruel con that is played on young people in love, who haven't yet lived long enough to realize that, for most people, that's a fairy tale that's simply not going to work for a lifetime.

"In sickness and in health" ... I'm right there.

"For better or for worse" ... you betcha.

"For richer or for poorer" ... you bet.

"Forsaking all others" ... no, I can't do it anymore, but I still want to be with her for the rest of my life, and I still love her so much it leaks out my eyes.

Originally Posted by nycindie View Post

The trick is to let her know that the increased ardor and closeness you two have been experiencing in the last few days is something you appreciate, are thrilled with, and want to continue, but that it isn't what has prompted you to broach the topic with her.
What I want to convince her of, as well, is that what, I think, has made it so intense is that it is no longer diluted by the guilt and shame of keeping secret from her the feelings that I had, that I thought were wrong of me to have--that I had thought was a moral failing on my part, rather than a natural part of who I am.

And for that, as well, I'm trying to understand her, in that she said that she never once thought about being with another man. I thought everyone thought about being with someone else, and the difference between a good person and a dirtbag cheater was whether or not they resisted the temptation. It never occurred to me that the actual difference is whether or not someone actually cheats (meaning that honest polys aren't cheating, when it's all above board).

Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
I don't see how it could hurt to gently and lovingly tell her at the next opportune moment, if it feels right, "You know I love you, and we still have a lot to talk about."
Yes, I agree, though that will certainly, I think, bring the fears and insecurities rushing back. That's not to say I shouldn't do it; I just need to suck it up and let her feel it, and keep actually being the loving, patient husband that I said that I still want to be.

Thank you all.
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guilt, marriage vs. polyamory, mono/poly, opening a relationship

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