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  #1  
Old 06-10-2011, 03:09 AM
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Default To be, or not to be...

Looking around I see that most people here who understand their polyamorous nature, ultimately decide that there's no point fighting or hiding from who you are, and go on to either negotiate poylamory into their current relationship, or end current relationship if thats a no go.

While Ive only discovered the term polyamory quite recently. I think I have always been this way, at least as an adult. I need true loving/spiritual/sexual connections in my life, as we all do. When I meet someone with potential I really struggle with the boundaries in my marriage and I don't easily forget the opportunity lost. It hurts me. I love my wife so much, but it seems such a shame, that we let the social norms keep people away from connecting and sharing love.

I eventually became depressed and lonely, I thought I was the crazy one because everyone I know seems to sit quite happily within the normal social boundaries of western culture. I brought up many times how unhappy I was, even saw a psychologist (which did at least alleviate the depression), but I didnt know about polyamory and so still thought i had to somehow change myself or fix other things in myself to make those desires go away.

Upon trying to save our relationship, (from my affair ) we entered into therapy, and I also am seeing a counselor separately.
Things have gotten a lot better since then.
However, through working on my own issues I have now created the space in myself to grow and live more authentically.

The problem that arises out of that is: I tried for so long to be the guy I was supposed to be, that introducing this newly emerging self identity is at odds with the life I have with my wife. She's mono, she's great just they way she is, and i feel it would be wrong to try and make our relationship polyamorous as I know it would hurt her, and not be something that she finds joy in.

none of this is her fault or what she signed up for. We get along very well in all other areas and make a good team.

Is there no middle ground, where I can be honest with my partner and open up the communication lines about how different we are, about my 'polyness', yet stay together in the mono relationship I originally agreed to...can that work? Can I find happiness by focussing on this relationship to make it great, and then being honest when im having feelings for someone else..will that help me to let go with out acting on them? Or will I just end up miserable and lonely?

I dont know what to do. To be all of me, no matter the cost. Or be just part of me, be thankful for what I do have, and try find a way to 'deal' with the rest?

Words of wisdom greatly appreciated

Gecko
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  #2  
Old 06-10-2011, 03:30 AM
opalescent opalescent is offline
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Well, you've bounced around this board a little and probably know that many people here are in poly/mono relationships. It's discussed a lot. If you haven't already, search for threads for poly/mono - that may be helpful.

Specifically, I was struck by these sentences: "The problem that arises out of that is: I tried for so long to be the guy I was supposed to be, that introducing this newly emerging self identity is at odds with the life I have with my wife. She's mono, she's great just they way she is, and i feel it would be wrong to try and make our relationship polyamorous as I know it would hurt her, and not be something that she finds joy in."

I respond to my wife's pain, or potential pain, in similar ways. I would do just about anything not to hurt her. But I've learned, the hard way, that I cannot protect her from me. In fact, I should not protect her from what is going on in my head. She is my partner in life and should be treated as such, as someone who is capable of handling difficult conversations and situations. Your wife may not want to be shielded from your reality - she may even prefer the 'real thing' over the inauthentic self you presented before. I know it's terrifying but think seriously about giving her the opportunity to show that to you.

I'm pulling for you.
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Old 06-10-2011, 04:50 AM
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Man I wish it were simple. None of it is. Everyones relationship is different... my dear and loved Mono and I have had our times with this stuff over and over again... you can read my blog from about 2010 December on and see how it has gone for us. Hard work and endless compromise, never to find an agreement to a boundary that works for us both... so I sacrificed and in order to keep my relationship with him. That is what works best now and I am comfortable with that for now. I don't know what will come in the future.

I was fortunate to marry a poly man, and together we have been poly for our whole married life and before for over ten years... we are comfy and understand that about each other. It was a really confusing adjustment to have to think like and understand a mono person again... empathy is a huge factor in that.

All I can really suggest is to take it very slowly and not leave any stone un-turned... be authentic, have integrity and never ever think that she will entirely get over the pain you caused her by cheating... never assume that.
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Old 06-10-2011, 06:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by opalescent View Post
If you haven't already, search for threads for poly/mono - that may be helpful.
I have been looking at those. There are some inspiring success stories there. However no one holds out much hope for some one who cheated succeeding in this approach, and I agree that poly ≠ cheating (believe me I'm working through the hard stuff on the pain Ive caused, its been a journey in its self).
It doesn't change that fact that for me, the exploration into why I cheated lead me to poly, and poly helped me to stop hating on myself so much for something that I've always felt was natural for me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by opalescent View Post
I respond to my wife's pain, or potential pain, in similar ways. I would do just about anything not to hurt her. But I've learned, the hard way, that I cannot protect her from me. In fact, I should not protect her from what is going on in my head.
The words in bold def hit home for me. Protecting her from my feelings didn't make anything go away.


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Originally Posted by redpepper View Post
so I sacrificed and in order to keep my relationship with him.
In a sense, this is what I have always done. Except it sounds like you have communicated and both are aware that you are making a sacrifice, which makes it possible to bring up when it gets tough. Wish I'd figured that one out earlier.
"Depression is the suppression of expression"

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Originally Posted by redpepper View Post
All I can really suggest is to take it very slowly and not leave any stone un-turned... be authentic, have integrity and never ever think that she will entirely get over the pain you caused her by cheating... never assume that.
I never would. And I really don't feel like after what happened I have any right to bring more confusing stuff into the relationship. Nor do I want it to seem like I'm looking for an excuse to my behavior. Because its not like that.

What I do know is this: I cannot pretend I'm something I'm not. It prevents me from any real growth. I deserve better.

So I do have every intention of having these hard conversations with my wife, so that she can experience all of me. I realize its her decision to like it or not. Giving less, has been a disservice to her.

I think the simplest way to describe it, is that while she believes we have a soul mate singular, I believe we have souls mates plural.


What I'm really wondering, is if being authentic, having integrity and being open and honest about what I feel, is enough for me to be happy? Do I actually need to be in a poly relationship, or will just being true already be enough of a weight off my shoulders.
I'm not going to push my wife into polly if she doesnt walk freely through that door herself. But I have strong doubts she will, and it feels like a sad thing to leave an otherwise good relationship, just because you feel left out of other meaningful relationships.

Man, I don't know if I'm making any sense...I could ramble myself into circles on this I'm sure.
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Old 06-10-2011, 10:35 AM
polyexplorer polyexplorer is offline
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Hi Gecko,

You're making total sense!

I have been open and honest with my wife about my feelings on poly for 6 years now. She is mono but I believe may possibly be able to be poly - that's yet to be seen...

I know that being open and honest has still left me in a very unhappy place. I feel trapped in that I can't fully pursue a poly life because my wife is still unable to truly decide that this is OK for us (I say us because even though it doesn't mean that she needs to be poly it is still us that embraces this life). I'm not sure how much longer I can hold up hope that we can embrace this together, and I don't hold hope that I will be happy by just being open and honest with how I feel and not be able to give expression to these feelings... I hope that makes sense??

All the best!
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Old 06-10-2011, 10:57 AM
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Hey Poly Explorer!
Thanks for your post! Its almost like reading into the future, as you seem to be in a place where I'm headed.

If you don't mind me asking:
Have you had times since opening up about poly, where you did hit it off with someone and brought the issue to your wife? What happened?

Does it feel like the truth set you free, or do you just feel under even more scrutiny now that your desires are known?

Have you tried developing meaningful non-sexual relationships?

I feel for you for sticking it out for the last 6 years, you must love her very much! I hope she appreciates that

While I havn't opened up yet about poly, I can definitely relate to the trapped feeling. Its hard when it feels like you can't handle feeling trapped anymore, but knowing that if you go, you'll lose as much as you gain.

I'm open to further discussion on this if you need an ear

All the best,
Gecko
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Old 06-10-2011, 11:21 AM
polyexplorer polyexplorer is offline
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Hey Gecko!

My wife and I have been discussing things quite openly for a long time but somehow my wife has not been able to fully commit to the poly life for us because it is too painful for her. She even tried having another sexual relationship herself which she really enjoyed and it really opened her up in many ways, but that unfortunately ended for other reasons. I really appreciate her for trying like this but her emotional rollercoaster and becoming distant and cold during these times is really taking its toll on me.

She is OK with poly to a degree, but I know deep down that if I found someone else that I had a deep emotional connection with (it's the emotional connection she finds most difficult) that she would still struggle. I actually had that once, and she drew a line in the sand and demanded that it finish (that was 6 years ago). We have been working through this whole issue of poly (although we didn't know it as poly back then) ever since.

Recently I started to connect with someone else with the possibility of it becoming physical, and she is OK with it, but I know that if it became a deep emotional connection that she would struggle. This means that naturally I hold back because I don't want to hurt her, but I don't know how long this can continue. I'm taking one day at a time...

So does the truth set me free? I think only if I can eventually and slowly act on the truth. Truth without expression or action feels a little like empty words...
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Old 06-10-2011, 12:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by polyexplorer View Post
So does the truth set me free? I think only if I can eventually and slowly act on the truth. Truth without expression or action feels a little like empty words...
Flowering in the sun
Giving nectar
Receiving rain
A bud that withers in the vase
Knows not, what was lost
In the name of love


Sounds like quite a journey your on!
I guess your doing well to get to where you are now, your wife is doing her best too by the sound of it. It must be hard.
It doesn't sound like much fun, I guess its the kind of thing you can't predict how it will unfold prior to taking the plunge.
I still wonder if I would be seeking the answer in poly, if I found way to allow myself a deeper surrender to my wifes heart. I have often pulled back in recent times, and going deeper has felt like I'd be giving up a part of myself that has yet to bloom, so to speak.

Your experience shines light on the struggle of loving someone with very different needs, Thanks for sharing!
I hope you find a way together.


Gecko
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Old 06-10-2011, 05:47 PM
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redpepper redpepper is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gecko View Post
What I'm really wondering, is if being authentic, having integrity and being open and honest about what I feel, is enough for me to be happy? Do I actually need to be in a poly relationship, or will just being true already be enough of a weight off my shoulders.
I'm not going to push my wife into polly if she doesnt walk freely through that door herself. But I have strong doubts she will, and it feels like a sad thing to leave an otherwise good relationship, just because you feel left out of other meaningful relationships.
To me this is what ALL relationships should be built on. It is what makes me happy, because I know that I am the best I can be within them. At the end of the day, if it doesn't work out I try to leave relationships knowing I have at least been authentic, had integrity, been open to receiving all a person can give and been as honest as I can without being hurtful... that is all one can do I think. Except perhaps be sure to have a shit load of empathy.

I think that starting off with this in mind is the best you can do, the rest is up to fate and opening and walking through doors that come up for you. All you have is control of yourself and knowing yourself. Working on that first and making yourself your primary relationship will mean that others will know you as yourself entirely, not what you project into the world. If they do the same, then it will become evident if having a relationship with them is what is meant to be.

If I were in a position to need to talk to a love that doesn't know I am poly, I think I would start with conversations on how I am going to better myself. I would invite them into that journey and ask to do it together. I think I would talk about how I will be working on honest kind communication, about what communication skills I want to work on with them (We use NVC as our communication technique). I would talk about what integrity is and how I lost it once when I cheated and intend to be a master in it now. I would be sure to do all of this with them, or at least tell them what I have learned... show that I have practised it, live it entirely and as best I can. Be really proud of those changes BEFORE talking about being poly.

I applaud you for having the right attitude. It seems you were lost at one point and have begun coming back from that. I have experienced what cheating does and who survives it. Mono has too, more than anyone I know... he lost his family for what seems like for good at this point.

You seem to be surviving as much as she is. That is to be commended. You have a lot to teach others about that. To me that is a huge part of healing... passing on what you know about how damaging cheating can be.

BTW, have you read the "foundations" and "lessons" threads... they might help.
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Old 06-12-2011, 11:55 AM
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Thanks RP!
I've re-read your post about 5 times, you really have a knack for telling it straight!
Thats what I needed too(counselors let you do so much of the talking, you can end up believing your own bullshit).

I agree with everything you said, especially about working on myself as a 'primary' and being the best I can in that relationship is of utmost importance. Because its 'me' that I will bring into any other relationship and if I'm not the best I can be, then I can't give my best to someone else.

I've got a long way to go in re-connecting and building trust with my wife, just to save our marriage as it is. So it will be awhile before I bring this up.
But its good to have somewhere to process this stuff and put in in perspective. I feel the journey I'm on now while tough, is going to have a big influence on my future path in in life. (I think I'm becoming an adult! Scary, but not before time )

Take care,
Gecko
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