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Old 11-05-2018, 04:44 AM
Tackleberry Tackleberry is offline
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Hi all,

I just posted a short intro in the introduction section, and I thought I'd share my story to this point. I've found a LOT of great resources and reads here. Even though a lot of these posts are 9+ years old, they are still very relevant and helpful; thanks to all who've contributed! As I'm reviewing this, it's a bit of a long story, so if you do read through all of this, then I want to thank you in advance for your patience and time!

My wife and I have been happily married for 15 years, and together for 20. She is an amazing person, definitely my unicorn in the sense that she is VERY practical, and is not into drama at all. From my perspective (and as i recently found out, from her's as well) the early years with children our sex life REALLY suffered, and that strained the relationship, but we both powered through it.

2-3 years after our second child, my wife lost weight and became a gym rat. This lifestyle change also sparked our intimacy, and the relationship became awesome again, almost NRE-style! We settled down a bit from NRE, but it's been great, which has been steady for the past 5-6 years.

My wife dropped and broke the screen of her phone 1-1/2 months ago and I gave her the option of either replacing the screen on a phone that was a few years old, or spring for a new phone. She chose the new phone and I helped her get everything transferred. The old one still worked with the broken screen, so that was simply put away and to be dealt with at a later date.

We homeschool our kids, and so she's with them JUST about all the time, so I've never had issues with her going out on weekends. She likes to see local bands, so she would typically get together with some of her friends and joy some good music. Well, one local venue I know of closes at 12:30am, and I was up just puttering around the house (I tend to be a night owl), and it was after 1:30 and she's still not home. I'm a bit concerned, but shrugged it off, because I trust her, and as I mentioned, our relationship has been great. Also, we had gone on a great family vacation in August with a nice side trip with just me and her, etc. etc.

The fact that she didn't come home until after 2am when the bar closes at 12:30am is nagging me even more, and so I go and turn on her old phone, and notice that Facebook is still connected via WiFi even though the phone itself shows "No Service". That is where I see her messenging someone and replying I Love You, and recounting some intimate acts, dropping "lover" back and forth, etc.

Needless to say, I'm a whirlwind of emotions. I wait until we are by ourselves and confront her with it using a screenshot of one of these conversation snippets (snapped a picture of the screen with my phone before it was deleted). To her credit, she did not try to deny or come up with some lame excuse; she owned up to it. During this discovery conversation, she mentioned open relationships, that she knows several people who do it, but felt that was NOT the time to discuss that IMO, there are more pressing matters to address, namely her CHEATING on me!

From there, it was multiple days of anger, resentment, jealousy, sadness, you name it. I constantly went back to the line of "if our relationship is going so well, then why the f@#k did you do this??" We go through talking back and forth, with me asking most of the questions. To her credit, she was giving me honest answers, but I wasn't so sure at that point, because she just lied to me for not only hiding a romantic relationship for 1-1/2 years from me, but also admitting that she's had one-night-stands with seven others before this guy! Because of this, and the fact that she responded (I'm guessing a knee-jerk response) I don't know as to whether or not there were any possibility of STD's, I ask her to get tested, and I got tested as well. Both received clean bills of health, so that is out of the way. Also, I decided that I wanted to go to couples therapy, to try and work things out, especially the WHY, and get things sorted out.

Now, I felt bad doing it, but I kept looking at that Facebook messenger account. For some reason, they continued to use it to communicate. Fortunately, this was the straw of sanity in all this for me, because the things she told me and talked to this guy about, was corroborated through this messenger link. One major detail that I felt I needed to hear was the WHY. My monogamous upbringing (both of our parents are still together, both parents hovering around 50 years of marriage) drilled into my brain that if you cheat, there must be something wrong with the relationship; unhappy, distant, arguing all the time, or some combination thereof. BUT, our marriage didn't have any of that, especially for the past 5-6 years. Furthermore, she said straight out, that she loved me, our relationship was great, nothing was missing, the sex was amazing, etc. So again and again, I asked: WHY???

Through all of this, we have been mostly communicating all our private conversations through texting and email. With her being an early bird to get to the gym and back before I need to get to work coupled with two night owl kids, we didn't get hardly any alone time to discuss this face-to-face. We talk and talk and talk. It seems more and more obvious to me that she does love and care deeply for me, and our family. Neither of us want to break the family apart.

Furthermore, I start asking hypotheticals on my concerns and fears. Chief among those is my fear of her finding someone that she would choose and leave me behind. I then said that I'm scared of losing her. Her response? "You couldn't get rid of me if you tried". I think THAT was the true turning point of all this; when I felt that maybe this can work out. She did go on to say that if I can't be happy with a non-monogamous marriage, "then we won't do it". *ding* Love & trust meter goes up one notch!

So as the information flows and my anger is sliding down, my curiosity is increasing, so I start asking general probing questions. For example, the one night stands were described from her as crazy-intense feelings for these guys (aka crush), and after the one-nighter, the crush was gone, she felt terrible, and then moved on. And again, and again, etc.

So, with my curiosity piqued despite the subject matter, I ask more about how long she's had these types of crushes. It turns out, she's had them for quite some time, even before we were married. OK. Then what changed? What was the straw that broke the camel's back and had you give in to these crushes? She couldn't tell me what that straw was. BUT she did give me another insight that was very helpful.

One of her friends she goes out with on the weekends (let's call her J) is in a poly relationship (not sure of the details, but I know that she practices). So J knows about her crushes, and I believe the first couple of one-night stands. She shows the Mrs. a TED talk titled "Are We Sexual Omnivores?" by Christopher Ryan. J confronted her husband about polyamory, and they ended up getting divorced because he was not interested in it. J's friend was in a similar situation, J helped her, and her friend was also divorced. THEREFORE, the Mrs. was then freaked out that the same will happen to us, and she was also scared of losing me & our family. HERE is at least ONE explanation as to the WHY she never told me.

So, shortly after this, my trust and love is swelling, as is other things, so I finally told her that I love her, I miss her and I want to have sex. She was at the gym in the morning, and I hadn't seen her move that fast in a while! The sex was great, and it felt like a great burden had been lifted from my shoulders. After reiterating my fears (namely I am scared $h!tless of losing her), and her reinforcing her love and commitment to me and our family, I start to see her relationship with the cheatee as it is: a loving relationship with someone else.

After some soul searching and reassurances of the Mrs. feelings, my mind warms up to the idea of transitioning this cheating relationship into a non-monogamous poly relationship. I asked the Mrs. to setup a group chat, and the three of us discussed things in a civil manner, and I willingly gave my consent to move forward with this poly relationship with some ground rules/boundaries. It all went well, but at this point, there has not been any physical contact yet between the Mrs. and the other guy.
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Old 11-05-2018, 12:28 PM
Tackleberry Tackleberry is offline
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[continued from above]

Meanwhile, last night, we got a babysitter and the Mrs. and I went out together to see one of the bands I know and like as well (the Mrs. is platonic friends with most of them). The car ride there was a bit uncomfortable with the subject matter, but not as bad as the first few times we had these discussions. Once we got there, we had a great, fun, stress-free evening. It felt like we were newlyweds again. The car ride home was a bit uncomfortable, as the Mrs. was in tears on how to tell her best friend, another with whom she often goes out to see the bands with (Call her S). S has NO IDEA that the Mrs. has been doing this. Furthermore, S had a boyfriend who cheated on her, so she has strong opinions on that subject matter. the Mrs. doesn't want to keep this secret from S forever, but at the same time she is afraid to lose S over this (sound familiar?).

Through all of this crisis and having these lines of communication open, I felt that it has created a deeper connection with my wife, sharing the love for each other. She'd been cheating on me with this guy, but I'm also coming to terms that even though the act was a $h!tty one, there are noble undercurrents going on, namely love for each other.

Now, my non-monogamous upbringing needs to get an overhaul to get this all squared away, but I'm willing to give it a try. Also, I'm curious to try meeting other women for some potential intimate encounters. Only difference, is I will be discussing the details with the Mrs. before acting upon ANYTHING, so it will NOT be cheating, but simply expanding our experiences with the potential of spreading our love and caring to others.

Well, that's all I have to say about that. Thanks for staying for the whole ride and listening!
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Old 11-05-2018, 05:15 PM
Evie Evie is offline
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I think it's wonderful you were able to make that transition. And I wish you all the best for the ongoing evolution of your polycule.

Best friends can be tricky. Mine got really upset when I told her (she didn't involve me directly in her upset, but went to her husband who told her to stop being so fussy about something that doesn't affect her. She told me about it later). We're good again. And she's happy enough to hear me talk about my extramarital relationships. Sure, S might also have a knee-jerk reaction given her past, but hopefully she will recognise that the Mrs is happy, as are you, and you're navigating it all in a different manner.

All the best.

Evie
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Old 11-06-2018, 01:13 AM
Tackleberry Tackleberry is offline
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Evie,

I hope you are right regarding S. I'm going to take the Mrs.' lead on if/when/how. We have a mutual friend (J) that was in the poly lifestyle (she's since settled into a monogamous relationship) who may help smooth things out, but I'll worry about that when we get there.
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Old 11-06-2018, 02:36 AM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is online now
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I guess I wonder why Mrs has to tell her friend this came from a cheating start? Why not just tell her you guys have decided to open the marriage and leave it there? And does the friend need to know anything about any of this RIGHT NOW? Why the hurry to tell at this time?

She's not dating the best friend. She's not her lover so she doesn't have to do the sex health history thing with her.

And yeah, best friend, but one doesn't tell their best friend EVERYTHING. Does she tell her her fav sex position with you? Or what your bills/income/bank account numbers are?

If Mrs. is carrying a lot of guilt/remorse stuff that she needs to process as you all go from cheating start to more ethical poly? Stuff she needs help with right now? Perhaps a trained therapist who can be neutral is a better person to work her issues out with at this time than just unloading whatever at random on the best friend who has been cheated on in the past. It doesn't sound kind to saddle the friend with this data at this time. Maybe not ever.

Right person for the right job. One sees a dentist for a cavity. Not a fireman.

I know people rely on their best friends for some emotional support in their lives. But there's "asking for some emotional support" and then trying to use friends as a "free therapist/minister/confessional." It is not appropriate behavior.

Once you and your wife are good and solid, THEN you each can start telling people who need to know and matter in your lives that you are practicing polyamory. Not gonna bother telling the mailman or grocery clerk, right? What do they need to know your private business for?

Is wife tempted to tell all and sundry from having kept it held in so long? It could be more balanced than swinging from one extreme (hide everything from all) to the other (tell whoever whatever.)

Therapist may help her find her balance better. Could encourage her to set one up for herself.

I think you could rethink that "let my wife set the pace for dealing telling S this came from cheating." Do YOU want that info spread about?

Also rethink this.

Quote:
Only difference, is I will be discussing the details with the Mrs. before acting upon ANYTHING, so it will NOT be cheating, but simply expanding our experiences with the potential of spreading our love and caring to others.
Why are you gonna do that? It can't be "It's not cheating, and I don't consult/tell my wife the details" here? What details are you talking about?

Is your potential partner gonna appreciate you telling their stories to your wife? Do they want to be spread love on? Do they want to be an expansion/enhancement to you and wife's experiences?

Be careful you do not imagine this as "Like you and me. Just plus extra people." It's the easiest way for a couple to imagine a larger network, but it is not actually "adding more people." It feels more like you and wife BREAKING UP. Ending the old model. Maybe not a legal divorce. But the old marriage is OVER. Then healing from cheating. Then building a new relationship model.

Give yourselves ample time to mourn the loss of the old model. Ample time to heal form the cheating. Grief can sneak up on you emotionally in unexpected ways. You seem to assume that because you were compatible for monogamy for so many years that you must be compatible for poly or non-monogamy. Are you? You have to date each other all over again in a new context to find out. You might not be.

What open model appeal to each? Do you both want the same one(s)? A DIY thing not listed?

Then there is info management in the new model. Sharing basic sex health info and practices for health hygiene is one thing. Sharing TMI details is another. To me every polyship is made of of all the little relationships inside it. To be well overall? All the mini relationships have to be ok. Each dyad needs privacy. Not because anything hinky is going on, but because some things are not anyone else's business. It's part of maintaining healthy boundaries.

I think you could talk to your therapist about establishing clear communication in the new poly model. What is news, what is not news, and who gets to know it when.

When it was just you and wife, you both could tell everything any time because that WAS the only dyad in the network.

Now that the model is changing. (You + wife) aren't gonna be the only dyad any more. So communication methods/styles may need to change.

Your new partner may not like you blabbing detail things you learned about them in the (you + your partner) bubble to your wife. Her BF might not like it either. Her blabbing things to you that she learned in the (wife + her BF) bubble.

YKWIM?

It's fine you guys want to try. But after all the cheating upheaval, don't rush the process to Open Up.

Galagirl

Last edited by GalaGirl; 11-06-2018 at 03:18 AM.
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Old 11-06-2018, 11:44 AM
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Magdlyn Magdlyn is online now
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Hi Tackleberry, welcome to the board. Just as a FYI, this blog section is generally more for personal ruminations... but if you invite feedback, you will get opinions and advice. If you want even more looks and feedback, you can post specific issues on the Relationships section.

That said, I guess you want feedback here?

Is "the Mrs" what you prefer to use as your wife's nickname here? I'm just curious why you don't choose, say, Sheila or Dreamer or Gardenia, you know? You chose to call her by her relationship to you, which just makes me go hmm.

She's her own person. Obviously she has her hobbies, the gym, music on weekends. As a former long term homeschooling mom myself, I know how overwhelming it is to be with the kids so much. A homeschooling mom can feel lost in her demanding role.

I think that when she got (back?) in shape, or in shape for the first time(?), she started reclaiming herself for herself. She felt great, she felt fit, she felt like Gardenia (or whatever), not solely defined as wife and mother. The Mrs, the Mama.

You actually benefited from her new found reclaiming of her fitness, the musical inspiration (dancing too?), her social life with her platonic gfs, and her general personal autonomy. The sex increased in frequency and intensity. You even found a way to take a one on one vacation.

This is all very very familiar to me, so similar to my story. I didn't cheat though. I didn't have one night stands, I didn't have a long term physical relationship with another man. I did get intense crushes, and I did form emotional romantic relationships with a couple guys online, and did the cyber sex thing for a year or so. (This was back in the early 2000s)

Anyway! You've gotten through it. The cheating. You seem to understand somewhat why she did it. I think her newfound reclaiming of her Self increased her desire and love for you, as well as stirring up feelings for others. I went through the same thing. My (ex) husband and I rarely had sex or dates when our 3 kids were young. But when the youngest turned 5, we had a 2nd honeymoon, a huge resurgence of sexual opportunity and desire. At the same time, as my libido increased, it turned to crushes on others as well, without decreasing my desire for my husband.

I don't think it's abnormal for married people to get crushes. Far from it. Our mono programming culture tells us this is wrong, even evil and sinful. I once even had a clueless therapist tell me "married people shouldn't get crushes," shaming me. But I think it's quite normal to be promiscuous at heart. Sexual omnivores, as in that TED talk you mentioned. Many many people crave variety. Hence, romantic books, fan fiction, celebrity worship, movies and plays, porn, swinging, flirting, cheating, "work wives" and "work husbands," serial monogamy, divorce, all the more or less socially sanctioned ways for "mono" people to "get something on the side."

Our current society is gradually pulling away from the patriarchy. Slowly and painfully, especially with the Cheeto in Chief in office. But modern polyamory is woman driven. We've had polygyny much in the past. One man, several wives and/or concubines. But it's been millennia since women have had the power to love and fuck more than one man. (Having a female lover is seen as OK, as it "doesn't count." No penis? No problem. )

Maybe before you make moves to start looking for dates, consider doing some couples therapy with "Gardenia." Find a poly-friendly therapist. And deeply consider how much time, money, and emotional energy you both can spare dating, while having still youngish (school age) kids. Where will the dates happen? Will the kids know Mom and Dad both have (or are seeking) "special friends?" Will you take turns on weekends seeing others? How will you schedule dates with each other, to keep your own flame alive when YOU fall in NRE with someone, or someones? How will Gardenia react if and when you find dating partners? Will she feel threatened and jealous the way you did (do)? How will this be dealt with?

Read the book Opening Up. Read the website More Than Two. Both are rather oriented towards previously mono couples trying to do poly while remaining coupled.
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Mags (poly, F, 63)
Pixi (poly, F, 41) my nesting partner since January 2009
Master, (mono, M, 37), Pixi's bf since April 2013
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Old 11-07-2018, 05:33 AM
Tackleberry Tackleberry is offline
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First of all, Magdlyn, never thought about the undercurrents of calling her Mrs. My pet name for her has been Kitty (and she deeply loves our cats), so I'll refer to her as Kitty moving forward.

GalaGirl, one BIG twist on Kitty's BF is the fact that they met while HE was trying to hit on/pick up S. I don't want to go into too much detail, but the BF said he'd do a charity run, and Kitty was egging him on making him keep his word. Well, I guess the egging on stirred something in Kitty, and she invited this guy to see a local band, and things flourished from there. So, you see, S will likely know how long this has been going on because S and Kitty met this guy essentially at the same time.

Quote:
And yeah, best friend, but one doesn't tell their best friend EVERYTHING. Does she tell her her fav sex position with you? Or what your bills/income/bank account numbers are?
I think so, but I'm not 100% sure on the fav sex position, but it wouldn't surprise me in the least! Bills? Yes. Income? Yes. Bank account numbers? No.

Quote:
Once you and your wife are good and solid, THEN you each can start telling people who need to know and matter in your lives that you are practicing polyamory.
I wholeheartedly agree with you on this one. I feel that our relationship is on stable ground. I like the idea of practicing polyamory, but I need to determine whether or not I like the realities of polyamory. This is the "trying" I mentioned before. I know Kitty's feelings and convictions both towards our relationship, and at least some of her feelings towards her BF.

Quote:
Is wife tempted to tell all and sundry from having kept it held in so long?
She is not tempted to tell all; she is relieved (when all has been said and done) that I now know, but more importantly, that I do not want to divorce her because she wishes to practice polyamory (as opposed to polyamory between her and her lover, and simply cheating to me before all this came to light).

Quote:
What open model appeal to each? Do you both want the same one(s)?
Yes, the primary/secondary open model appeals to us both, so that does not complicate things.

Quote:
Only difference, is I will be discussing the details with the Mrs. before acting upon ANYTHING, so it will NOT be cheating, but simply expanding our experiences with the potential of spreading our love and caring to others.
Ok, I admit, this is not the best expression I could come up with. I agree that we will not share everything that happens in each of our secondary relationships. What I was thinking about how I would like to proceed in beginning a secondary relationship. I want to ensure that the communication lines are open, and that if Kitty has any negative feelings towards my seeking out a secondary, then I want to discuss and address them.

Quote:
It's fine you guys want to try. But after all the cheating upheaval, don't rush the process to Open Up.
I agree with you on this last point, as well.

GalaGirl, Thanks for your feedback and insights!

Ok, Back to you Magdlyn:

Quote:
Where will the dates happen? Will the kids know Mom and Dad both have (or are seeking) "special friends?" Will you take turns on weekends seeing others?
For the short term, we would like to keep our kids out of the loop of Mom and Dad having/seeking "special friends". We haven't explicitly discussed it, but I'm leaning on either taking turns on weekends, or hiring a babysitter and going our separate ways for the evening (not sure on the specifics yet; I'm confident we can arrange the details if/when the need arises).

Quote:
How will Gardenia Kitty react if and when you find dating partners? Will she feel threatened and jealous the way you did (do)? How will this be dealt with?
My response to GalaGirl above is what I was trying to say originally. I want to ensure that if/when I find dating partners, that I discuss it with Kitty, and work through whether or not she is feeling threatened and/or jealous.

I didn't scour every last word from it, but I have delved into the More Than Two website, and found it helpful and informative, especially the Jealousy and Insecurity section.

Again, thanks for the feedback and making me think some more about this; I appreciate it!
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