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  #1  
Old 07-16-2018, 09:56 PM
Polylogical Polylogical is offline
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Default Messed up situation...

Ok... So my wife and I talked about having an open relationship for a while, we had read Sex at Dawn and it all made a lot of sense to us. But we didn't really make it official. We live in a place where there isn't much opprotunity to pursue other relationships, so it didn't really happen. And my wife was a little hesitant, but the philosophy made sense to us. Then this guy from Europe came to work on the farm and my wife was all for it, she wanted to pursue something with him. I was ok with it, because, well, I wanted the same freedom.

So we had 2 rules: always use protection, and always be honest with each other. My wife pretty much broke both those rules right away. She was having sex with him long before she actually told me they were having sex... and worse, they weren't using protection... and worse again, she would come home and have sex with me... I commented once on how much more "wet" she was lately. Never even considering that I was getting sloppy seconds. It never even crossed my mind that she would be dishonest with me, or do something like that to me. I though it was just a new spark becuase of the open relationship, but nope I was just fucking some other guys cum inside her.

This all came to light later when she found out she was pregnant (I've had a vasectomy so it wasn't me). The guy had recently left back to Europe (and his unknowing girlfriend). My wife chose to have an abortion, which took a hard toll on her and ended up causing her depression.

This all left a bit of a bitter taste in our mouths... and obviously some conflict between us. But I was still not opposed to an open relationship, since it wasn't the open relationship thing that caused all this, it was her failure to follow our rules. She says go ahead to me, but that she wasn't going to pursue it any longer because it "caused her nothing but pain". Cut to a few years later and I finally meet a girl that I'm into, and who is into me, and who is ok with the open relationship. This is the first time everything lined up right for me. It's sort of the same situation in reverse, she's from Europe - but she's leaving the next day so I only have one chance to visit with her. So I'm out with her and I get frantic angry text from my wife. She's having a panic attack, so I have to go home. My wife says she can't handle the thought of me with someone else. So I missed out...

I'm pretty pissed about it. She was totally happy to sleep with another guy and totally endorsed the open relationship philosophy in every discussion we've had, including discussions with other people. So it was a complete shock to me. And now she says she doesn't want an open relationship anymore. She is suffering from depression so it's hard to even discuss it with her because she says it's to hard on her. She acknowledges that it wasn't fair, and that she should logically be ok with it but she doesn't know how to be. In any case, I missed out on that girl, and as I said where we live, this opportunity doesn't come often. It might never come again. It's all very frustrating, since none of this would have happened if she had only followed our damned rules...

So I feel like I'm between a rock and a hard place. I don't feel like I can mentally go back to being monogamous, and if I did I think I would end up resenting her for the way things happened since she'd be restricting me. But on the other hand, I love her, I have 2 children with her, we built a business together, I don't know if I could be without her, and I don't know if she could be without me.

Anyway, I just needed to get this off my chest and share with someone (it's not something I can really discuss with friends or family). Anyone have any advice, or been through something similar?
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  #2  
Old 07-17-2018, 12:07 AM
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kdt26417 kdt26417 is offline
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Hello Polylogical,

I think to a large extent you were venting here, and hopefully it helped. I don't know if I could be so quick to forgive if I were in your position. Your wife screwed you (and not in a good way), twice. I'm sorry she is depressed but she needs to get counseling (and meds as necessary) and do something about it, instead of just using the depression as an excuse to stop you from seeing other people. Also like you said, if at any point she decides to start seeing other people, she needs to keep the rules you guys agreed on, especially the rule to be honest with you. Tell her this.

You have a complicated situation on your hands. I don't envy you.
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  #3  
Old 07-17-2018, 12:10 AM
MsEmotional MsEmotional is offline
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First of all, I do think that what your wife did was absolutely wrong and I’m sorry she broke your agreements and your trust. That being said, your current issue doesn’t seem to be with her breaking your trust so much as it is with her feelings changing in the aftermath of her pregnancy and abortion. I do want to address your assertion that this wouldn’t have happened if she’d “followed our damn rules.” You are correct that this exact situation wouldn’t have happened if she had followed the rules, but most of it still *could* have happened, even if she had been trying her best. . As someone who got pregnant despite using protection, I can attest to the horror of being in the situation your wife was in. I can see why it has left her feeling depressed and insecure.

Of course, given that she *did* fail to use protection and follow your agreements, it is difficult to have sympathy for her. And, therefore, it is difficult to separate her trauma in the aftermath of the pregnancy and abortion from her irresponsible and unethical choices that led up to that situation.

I’m sorry I don’t have good advice for you. I definitely think that your wife’s actions (with regard to not using protection) are completely inexcusable. But, given my own experience with an unexpected pregnancy, it is hard for me to be unsympathetic to the effect that her experience has had on her emotional well-being. Perhaps another poster would be able to offer you better advice — in my opinion I think the most important part is for your wife to get help for her depression.
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  #4  
Old 07-17-2018, 04:43 AM
lunabunny lunabunny is offline
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First and foremost, I agree with the others here that your wife needs to get appropriate counselling and treatment for her depression, if she isn't already. Nothing will get better for her, or for your relationship, if she neglects her mental health.

Sure, your wife broke the agreed-upon rules, and unfortunately BOTH of you have suffered the consequences of her unethical and disrespectful choices ever since. But I wonder if you've ever sat down and tried to get to the bottom of WHY she decided it was okay to lie to you about sleeping with someone else AND the reason she chose NOT to use protection??

It seems to me that if trust is ever to be rebuilt between you, it's important to understand why she decided to go about the other relationship in such a manner; and what she has learned from deceiving a loved-one in this way (other than the fact that it caused pain for HER). Because to be brutally frank, what she did was FAR from loving behaviour. How does she expect you to trust her again and even to WANT to be in a monogamous relationship with her from now on?

As for your near-experience with the European woman... well, in your wife's defence, even if a person is technically on board with polyamory, it can take more than one day to process the information that a partner intends to become intimate with someone new. True, her behaviour smacks of hypocrisy, however the two circumstances of non-monogamy (hers and yours) were separated by some years, and perhaps she was not expecting you to just "go there" with someone new, with little or no warning.

I'm honestly not sure it will be possible to continue a relationship with your wife in the manner you seek, if you now believe you're truly polyamorous at heart, and she has decided she wants nothing to do with it (admittedly, due to her own mismanagement). You could TRY to make a mono relationship work for the sake of the children and your joint business... but are these really valid reasons to stay together if you're both going to remain unhappy and in emotional limbo?
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  #5  
Old 07-17-2018, 06:20 AM
Polylogical Polylogical is offline
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So, one of the issues I have is that it's really hard to have discussions about this stuff with her, or ask her why she did those things. She pretty much closes up right away and gets depressed. She then starts saying thing like, "I'm a horrible person, I hate myself, you deserve someone better, you should just leave me." Then I just start feeling guilty about even bringing it up... the only answers I've ever gotten we're pretty vague, "I just wasn't thinking", or "I don't know, it just happened"...

She has started medication for depression btw. And will probably start therapy soon. I've kind of decided that I will wait for a while to see how that all works before opening up the discussion again.

To clarify a bit about the European girl, it wasn't just out of the blue. She had been working on the farm for a few weeks, and my wife knew I was interested and that she was interested too. My wife was even the one who initially told her about our open relationship. The day before she left was just the only chance we had to be intimate together, due to events on the farm, etc...

So, I'm painting my wife in a really bad light here, and yeah when I really think about it what she did was horrible, and it infuriates me... and from your guys' perspective I can see you wondering why I even bother staying... but she has also been really wonderful and amazing to me in many other ways. We mostly have had a really great relationship... I just hope we can get past this...

Thank you guys for listening and your thoughts and insights. I really needed to just talk to someone about it.
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Old 07-17-2018, 12:18 PM
KC43 KC43 is offline
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I deal with major depression. The things you say your wife says ("I'm a horrible person", "You deserve better") are word-for-word things I've said to my husband and all but one of the other partners I've had over the past few years.

The thing is--and I realize this myself and have been working to stop saying those things--is that even though I'm sure she doesn't *intend* to be manipulative, those are manipulative statements. When I said them, I didn't intend any manipulation at all; I was simply stating, honestly, how I felt and what I believed in that moment. But it does cause the other person to change their behavior (for example, switching from conflict to comfort without actually resolving the conflict, which means the conflict continues to simmer) and/or to feel guilty or somehow responsible for the first person's self-hatred.

I've been in therapy for a number of years, and I also have a very patient husband and boyfriend who have supported me in working on this. I still sometimes catch myself thinking I'm horrible or worthless or whatever, but instead of stating it as a fact ("I'm a horrible person!") I've learned to identify it as an irrational, inaccurate feeling ("I feel like you'd be better off without me, and I know that's the depression talking, but I needed to say it to get it out of my head.")

In my opinion, therapy will help her, and hopefully she will learn other strategies to cope with her depression, and other ways to frame or phrase how she's feeling so they aren't impacting you--or herself--in the same way. In the meantime, I hope you can work on not feeling guilty or responsible for her feelings. This is clearly a difficult subject for her, but it is for you as well, and you are doing nothing wrong by trying to discuss it with her.

The only change in your approach, should you choose to continue trying to discuss the situation, that I would suggest is avoiding "why" questions; she seems to have acted out of impulse, and might not even fully understand the reasons herself, which would make it difficult for her to explain them to you. That also might compound the depression (which, again, you are NOT responsible for), because--again, speaking from my personal experience--she almost certainly recognizes she did something inexcusable, which resulted in a great deal of pain for her and for you, and not being able to articulate *why* she made that choice might be causing her to feel less in control and like there really is something horrible about her that led to her doing what she did. If and when she starts therapy, the therapist will likely work with her to uncover and understand her reasons, and at that time she might be better able, and less stressed, to answer your questions about why, but for now I would suggest dropping that.

I think it's great that you want to stay with your wife and work this out with her, and that you're trying to be supportive and understanding. Some people would have walked away long before now, but you've hung in there, and you seem to recognize that your wife didn't intend to hurt you, and that she's struggling a lot right now and needs you. I hope that as time goes on, you and she will find some peace from all of this, and I hope that her medication and therapy help her as well.
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Old 07-17-2018, 01:46 PM
Polylogical Polylogical is offline
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Hi KC43,

Thanks for your insights, you really nailed some things.

You are absolutely right, when she says things like "I'm horrible", etc.. I do switch way from conflict to comfort... and the issue never gets resolved... and like you said, it keeps simmering until I can't handle it. Then it comes out again... and the cycle repeats...

I'm going to try to be mindful of the things you mentioned.

There is a small worry I have about her taking therapy, maybe you can comment to this. Being poly or in an open relationship in our culture isn't completely accepted, and if this therapist is more traditional maybe they will comment negatively on it... placing blame on the open relationship for her depression. Which, in a way is true... but also not...

Any thought?

Thanks again for your comments.
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Old 07-17-2018, 02:05 PM
lunabunny lunabunny is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polylogical View Post
So, one of the issues I have is that it's really hard to have discussions about this stuff with her, or ask her why she did those things. She pretty much closes up right away and gets depressed. She then starts saying thing like, "I'm a horrible person, I hate myself, you deserve someone better, you should just leave me." Then I just start feeling guilty about even bringing it up... the only answers I've ever gotten we're pretty vague, "I just wasn't thinking", or "I don't know, it just happened"...
Okay, I take your point (and KC43's) about not pushing her on the "why" question right now, as she may not be able to fully articulate her reasons.

FWIW, "I just wasn't thinking" and "it just happened" may be a true, to an extent, however from your OP it seems to me this wasn't just a "one-off" incident where she and her ex-lover didn't use protection, so IMHO it was a conscious choice and there's more to it than an impulsive decision. But that can be dealt with later, if need be...

Quote:
She has started medication for depression btw. And will probably start therapy soon. I've kind of decided that I will wait for a while to see how that all works before opening up the discussion again.
And that's a sound approach to take at this juncture. Your wife's mental health is of utmost importance and should be prioritised, whether or not you ever decide to re-open your marriage.

From your OP, I got the impression your wife's depression only started after her borderline cheating behaviour and subsequent abortion. If that is so, then much of her depression and self-hatred probably stem from extreme guilt, as well as loss/grief - situation-specific, or "reactive" depression.

If that isn't the case, and your wife already suffered from depressive episodes and low self-esteem BEFORE your last attempt at opening up and the horrible repercussions) it may partially explain her behaviour and choices at that time. This is all something for her to unpack during therapy... which I certainly hope she goes through with.

Btw, thanks for clarifying about the European girl. That makes so much more sense now.

Quote:
when I really think about it what she did was horrible, and it infuriates me... and from your guys' perspective I can see you wondering why I even bother staying... but she has also been really wonderful and amazing to me in many other ways. We mostly have had a really great relationship... I just hope we can get past this...
It may well be possible to get past this, but probably not without your wife being committed to mental health treatment/therapy.

You have personally never lived a polyamorous life or been in non-monogamous relationships during your marriage - although you've come close that one time - and admit there is very little chance of even meeting anybody else in the area. Therefore, since your marriage was pretty great before trying to open, and you still love your wife, you may decide it's in both your interests to revert to a monogamous marriage, at least for the foreseeable future.

However you ultimately have to be true to yourself. You deserve happiness too, and if you later find you simply cannot live the mono life forever, you'll have another decision to make.
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  #9  
Old 07-17-2018, 06:08 PM
KC43 KC43 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polylogical View Post
Hi KC43,

Thanks for your insights, you really nailed some things.

You are absolutely right, when she says things like "I'm horrible", etc.. I do switch way from conflict to comfort... and the issue never gets resolved... and like you said, it keeps simmering until I can't handle it. Then it comes out again... and the cycle repeats...

I'm going to try to be mindful of the things you mentioned.

There is a small worry I have about her taking therapy, maybe you can comment to this. Being poly or in an open relationship in our culture isn't completely accepted, and if this therapist is more traditional maybe they will comment negatively on it... placing blame on the open relationship for her depression. Which, in a way is true... but also not...

Any thought?

Thanks again for your comments.
I'm fortunate to live very near a progressive city, so I haven't had any issues with therapists (or any other health-care professionals of any kind) being negative about polyamory. At worst, they were simply ignorant about it, and were happy to learn more in order to be able to effectively treat me. When I first started doing poly, my then-therapist actually praised me for finding a constructive solution to the issues between Hubby and me (which were best addressed by me finding other people with whom I was more compatible in certain areas).

I'm not sure where you live, so I don't know what the odds are that you'd be able to find someone poly-tolerant. In theory, a healthcare professional, including mental health, is supposed to be objective and keep their personal opinions and judgments out of the treatment room. In reality, unfortunately, it doesn't always work that way. So yes, there is a risk that a therapist might try to convince your wife that her depression and issues are due to poly and therefore she shouldn't be poly.

I don't know whether you're in the US or not. If you are, there are lists online of poly-friendly professionals of various types. If you do an online search for the term "poly-friendly health care professionals in the US" or "poly-friendly therapists in the US," you should be able to find a list that includes the geographic area where each professional is located. Obviously if you aren't in the US that won't be helpful to you; I'm not sure whether similar lists exist for other countries.
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Old 07-17-2018, 11:31 PM
Polylogical Polylogical is offline
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Hi Lunabunny,

That's a really good point, "I just wasn't thinking", doesn't hold up when it happens repeatedly. And it did. Hmmm, I don't really know what to say about that... it's kind of heart breaking...

And you're right, I haven't really lived poly... there were a few other incidents in between where I pursued a different woman, but it never lined up for me. The odd thing is my wife didn't seem to have an issues on those occasions. But maybe it's just she knew it wasn't going to work out? I don't know...

But even though I haven't technically lived poly (and maybe I never will), it is the freedom of being open to the possibility... not feeling restricted... I don't really know how to explain it. Maybe it seems weird... since it's just a mentality...
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