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Old 01-15-2017, 04:08 AM
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Default Unexpectedly Poly

My introduction to Poly was a bit backwards. I’ve been a Heinlein fan since I was ten, and had read everything that he had published by the time I started college, many of the titles multiple times. “Stranger in a Strange Land” was the first Heinlein novel I read, and remains among my favorite novels of any genre to this day – 40 years later. So, when I came home from work a couple of years ago to find my wife’s friend, Carla, sitting in my den reading “Stranger”, I was pleasantly surprised. Conversation ensued, and I soon learned that Carla was polyamorous, had a husband, boyfriend, and a girlfriend - and that Heinlein was a favorite of the Poly community. Carla was also kind enough to give me a brief overview of the Poly concept, as well as some suggestions for further study.

Although I did not feel I had any personal interest in Poly, I did go onto read several articles and forum posts on the Net - mostly due, I think, to the Heinlein connection, as well as knowing a real live polyamorist personally. And I also read "The Ethical Slut", the outrageous title alone intriguing me.

I came away from my brief overview study with a great respect for the Poly lifestyle and those who successfully engaged in it, but still did not believe it to be for me. I surely understood why the authors of "The Ethical Slut' spent so much time on dealing with jealousy - I suspected that I was too far set in my ways at my age to defeat that green headed monster.

Becky, my wife, truly values her friendship with Carla, but was quick to tell me that she thought her Poly lifestyle was just plain strange. And Becky reiterated how weird she thought it all was when I discussed some of my Poly readings with her.

So imagine my surprise when just last month - about two years since the Poly discussion with Carla - Becky informed me that she wanted to "open up" our marriage so she could explore her resurgent feelings for an old college boyfriend (Ben) who had recently resurfaced in her life. She went on to say that she did not want to leave me or do anything to disrupt our family our marriage as we have a young daughter who clearly treasures her home life with both of us, and we both have always agreed that was the most important factor in our lives - but that she had come to believe it was possible to love two people at the same time and really wanted me to let her be free to explore her feelings about Ben. She said she believed that she could have a relationship with Ben "in addition to" our marriage, and without harming our daughter's family environment.

My previous "intellectual" study of poly gave me enough insight not to suffer a meltdown on the spot - and while I understood that feelings can come unbidden, I also firmly believed that the committed partner could choose to distance themselves from the situation for the sake of the marriage. And, in fact, our premarital counselor advised his clients to avoid contact with old flames for that very reason - a lesson point that Becky admitted she remembered. Nevertheless, Becky simply stated (several times) that she was not willing to do that. She did not believe it was necessary to walk away from the idea - that instead we could open our marriage and she could have a relationship with Ben "in addition to" our marriage, and do so with no harm to our marriage or family. She said that she could love two men at once.

So my choice was to accept her proposal (which could have come straight out of a poly manual - even though she had always rejected the notion of poly as "weird") - or risk severely disrupting or even breaking up our family. So, I conceded to her proposal to a point - telling her that I would be willing to working on accepting the idea, and we could head in that direction. Many hours of discussion - as well as a lot of anguish, sleepless nights, and whiskey - were needed to arrive at this concession - and initially it was only out of necessity and practicality - because it seemed the "lesser of evils", as I actually felt at that time that she was being selfish - putting her desires for something new above my feelings which were based on the promises we had made in our wedding vows. It was only later - when I looked at the situation honestly and had to acknowledge that Ben was bringing happiness to her life - that I began to see the concession as an act of love, re-examining my long held beliefs for the benefit of her happiness.

It turned out (as I was to discover later) that she had already been regularly texting and phoning Ben for a month or so - in fact, it had started out as a simple text about some news of a mutual acquaintance. This soon evolved into "daily love notes" and regular phone calls. And at that point, she was asking me to be ok with her seeing him in person when we traveled to his city of residence the next week to spend time with some of our family who lived in his city (about 3 hours away - so at least it will be a long distance relationship). I agreed as long as the three of us met for coffee first - and that she would swear to no sex (at least for this trip - I had already accepted that there would be long passionate goodbye kisses when they parted, but it would have been unrealistic to object to that as well - and any objections would almost certainly have been ignored anyway). She did agree for us all to meet and to put sex on the back burner for now saying that would give as much time as I needed to "wrap my head around the idea" (my phrase for a concept that I never expected to face).

So, we all met and I made the speech that I had prepared, mostly stating that I was not actually ok with a poly relationship but was willing to accept it to a point because Becky has asked me to - as long as, most importantly, it did not interfere with our marriage or family. I also told them that I was not ok with sex at this time - but that I would try to wrap my head around the idea if that was even possible - but it would probably take a while. Ben only said a few words but was polite and assured me that he would do nothing to disrupt our family and would respect my wishes about no sex at present.
All in all - and in fairness - he seemed like a decent fellow.

Becky got to meet Ben for lunch twice during our trip and apparently all went well. Just after the first of the year, Becky told me that Ben was going to be at a training seminar for a couple of days at a town about half way between our two cities - and it was close enough that she would like to meet him for dinner on one of the nights he was there (and that there would be no sex, per our agreement.) I agreed - with him living so far away, it seemed obvious to take advantage of the situation.

In the meantime, I continued to process the situation. I would have just as soon have ignored it and hoped it would go away, but since it wasn't going to go away, I continued to work on wrapping my head around it. I had already done an overview study of Poly a couple of years back (as mentioned above), and I continued to read articles on the Net and forum posts, as well as listen to some of the Poly podcasts while working at the desk at my home office - and yet more hours of honest discussion with Becky. I also include meditation as a part of my personal life path so I had spent some time meditating of the issue as well.

And then, somehow, presumably as a result of the study - processing - meditation, I had a rather sudden and remarkable paradigm shift - at which point I felt like I suddenly "got it - wrapped my head around it" and was able to view the situation positively and let go of my reservations. That evening, a few days before her scheduled dinner date with Ben, I was able - in a very tender and passionate moment - to give Becky my blessing for her to make love to Ben when she saw him the next week if that is what they both desired. I even encouraged her to see if they could make an overnight of it so that it could be a memorable time for them. Becky was surprised but excited, and they did work it out so that they could spend the night and the following day till dinner time together.

I found that I was excited and happy for her but was still concerned that after our daughter went to bed that night and I was all alone, that I might freak out and wonder what the hell that I had done. I prepared myself with a fresh supply of good whiskey, my favorite novel, and my favorite movie. And while I did enjoy a drink and the novel that evening, I somewhat surprisingly found that I was honestly able to enjoy the compersion experience - and feel happiness and excitement that Becky was able to enjoy this experience. In all honestly, there were a handful of moments when I began to feel a bit edgy, but I was able to quickly refocus on her happiness and let go of the fear. I even made it a point to have roses and a candle waiting for her when she returned home the next day - in honor of her first poly experience. And our reunion afterward was also very special.

That was about a week ago - and thus we have begun our Poly journey. I continue to embrace my paradigm shift and support her in this - although the are still some bumps left to smooth out. A couple of arguments have erupted over particular situations, I still sometimes wake up thinking "this is so fucking bizarre - what the hell have I done?" I still occasionally get a bit jealous when it seems that he is getting preferential attention (and I have to remember the NRE - and that overall Becky does a great job of being present for both of us). In general, however, I do have to say that - as or right now - our marriage does seem happier, more passionate, and more exciting than it has since our honeymoon.

Feedback and advice are always welcome.

Best to All,

Al

Last edited by Emm; 05-23-2017 at 01:30 AM. Reason: Added the word "not" at original poster's request.
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Old 01-15-2017, 01:25 PM
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Magdlyn Magdlyn is offline
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All I can say is, congratulations on your open mindedness, research, eventual epiphany, self care, and happy reunion after her first overnight!
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Old 01-15-2017, 09:38 PM
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Thanks for the welcome, Magdlyn!

The resources that I found in the online poly community (including this site) were very helpful in helping me deal with our unexpected entry into poly. It would have been a much more difficult situation without the insights that I gained from these resources. So - thanks, poly community, for for all the resources that you have made freely available online!
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Old 01-16-2017, 01:04 AM
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kdt26417 kdt26417 is offline
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Greetings Al99,
Welcome to our forum. Please feel free to lurk, browse, etc.

You have passed through a difficult crisis of the soul to arrive at an acceptance of polyamory in your own life, and I say kudos for your accomplishment. I hope Becky also realizes how big of a deal this is, and how much it matters that you were willing to try this on.

Keep us posted, and we'll continue to post more feedback.
Sincerely,
Kevin T., "official greeter"

Notes:

There's a *lot* of good info in Golden Nuggets. Have a look!

Please read through the guidelines if you haven't already.

Note: You needn't read every reply to your posts, especially if someone posts in a disagreeable way. Given the size and scope of the site it's hard not to run into the occasional disagreeable person. Please contact the mods if you do (or if you see any spam), and you can block the person if you want.

If you have any questions about the board itself, please private-message a mod and they'll do their best to help.

Welcome aboard!
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Old 01-16-2017, 03:47 PM
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Hi Kevin,

Thanks for the welcome! I do think Becky believes that she understands what a big deal it was for me to come to terms with her having a boyfriend "in addition to" our marriage/family (the way that she likes to phrase it - I think she believes that phrase is the best way she can present the situation so that it is least threatening to me and perhaps best describes how she views it). She has certainly done all the right things - lots of patience, willing to accept certain guidelines on her side, willing to talk about it with me as much as I won't, being understanding of the upset (she does have professional training in helping people accept change - and she obviously applied those skills to the situation - which turned our to be very helpful.) Even so - I do not really think she has grasped the full scope of what a gut wrenching process this has been for me - and it may not be even possible that she would.

It is interesting that you used the term "crisis of the soul" - because in a minor disagreement about a certain detail of the process - I felt like I had to remind her of what this had cost me and actually used the phrase "sold my soul for you to have this" - which is still how I feel on occasion. While I am grateful that I was able to achieve the paradigm shift that allowed me to embrace the inevitable (consider the Serenity Prayer of the Twelve Step programs) and determine that "since this is where we are at" (whether it would have been my choice or not), let's make the best of it and have fun with - the resistance continues to reassert itself at random moments. I suspect these moments will become less frequent as time goes along ...

Best,

Al
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Old 01-16-2017, 05:09 PM
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Yeah, things will probably get easier as time passes. Although, the idea of Becky being poly may always sting a little. And there are things you can't create more of ... time, energy, money. Poly is often a sacrifice for the other partner (for you in this case). Not that I mean to argue against poly; I myself am a leg in a V and I don't mind it. It really depends on the individuals involved.
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Old 01-18-2017, 11:07 PM
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Hi guys. I found this forum a few days ago because last friday my wife told me she wanted to have different experiences and we should consider poly. Its been really hard emotionally on me even though i have been with other women in the past - some she found out about and some she didnt.
Our marrige isnt the perfect fairytale but we have what we have. I think her desire is coming from a place deeper than just physical because of our conversations. But I'll leave those private.

I am hoping to get that paradigm shift but its really a hard pill to swallow. So any help or advice would be appreciated in regard to how to process and handle this.
I am willing to let her do her thing because all i ever wanted is for her to be happy. I just assumed i would be the one to make that happen...the only one. But reality is thats not so and i can understand because of my feelings and experiences with other women. Its just hard to imagine your wife getting involved physically and emotionally with someone else.
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Old 01-18-2017, 11:29 PM
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Hi RJB,

I think you'll find that things will get easier in time, especially if you read and post a lot on this forum. Check out Poly FAQ, it addresses some basic concerns you may have.

Regards,
Kevin T.
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Old 01-21-2017, 02:44 PM
JaneQSmythe JaneQSmythe is offline
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Default Hail Fellow Heinlein Fan

Hi Al,

Always a pleasure to welcome another reader and Heinlein Fan, my early reading of Heinlein was certainly influential in my life and my view of relationships. When MrS and I first got together (so long ago - 25 years now) I suggested he read my Heinlein collection in order to better understand my attitude on certain topics. He did. (Which I mentioned in MY intro thread from a few years ago.)

You probably have already come across this article ("Influence of the Science Fiction Writings of Robert A. Heinlein on Polyamory") in your readings, but I will post it just in case (since the link in my intro thread seems to be outdated).

Obviously, each person's journey is different, and each poly configuration has it's own dynamic. In my case, it was MrS who was faced with the challenge and had the "epiphany" that allowed our current chosen family to grow to include Dude. None of us has children so that shapes our choices as well. Even now, six years in, I have occasional moments of "OMG, what have I gotten us into?".

Again, welcome.

JaneQ

PS. The long story of our Journey is documented in my Journey blog - link in my sig.
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JaneQ(Me): poly bi female, in an "open-but-not-looking" V-plus with -
MrS: hetero polyflexible male, live-in husband (25+ yrs)
Dude: hetero poly male, live-in boyfriend (7+ yrs) and MrS's BFF
SLeW: platonic hetero girlfriend and BFF
MrClean: hetero mono male, almost ex-lover-friend, ex-FWBs to SLeW, friends with MrS; live-in with Katniss
+ "others" = FBs, FWBs, lover-friends, platonic G/BFs, boytoys, etc.


My poly blogs here:
The Journey of JaneQSmythe
The Notebook of JaneQSmythe
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Old 01-21-2017, 08:25 PM
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Al99 Al99 is offline
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Jane,

Thanks for the welcome, and the links - I look forward to reading them when I have a moment - and I've already saved the Heinlein essay to my pc. :-)

Reading Heinlein since I was ten, I of course knew that he wrote about alternative marriage arrangements, but - due to the heavily conservative indoctrination of my youth - I really just considered it a part of the fiction, so to speak. I did know, intellectually, that there were folks out there who really did practice alternative marriage styles, I just never would have imagined that I would be among them - but here we are. And at least I know that my favorite author thought well of the idea.

Always good to meet another Heinlein fan.

Best,

Al
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