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Old 02-21-2015, 01:05 AM
ambivulous ambivulous is offline
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I have been in a strictly monogamous relationship (for 17 years now) and it has been good (except for the sex, which started out "ok" and became non-existent over the last 10 years - after our youngest child was conceived). My wife has some health issues, but she's isn't happy with the situation either (we talked about it, but not enough - in my opinion). I feel like a nag (both in wanting sex and wanting to talk about it), and recently realized I feel unloved and neglected by her acceptance of a sexless marriage.

This past year I've felt a little more impatient and tried to press for some kind of resolution and improvement. But, well, I'm getting kind of the silent treatment / no change at all. I realize old habits die hard, but I've also been extremely patient for many years, and well, I've just run out of that patience.

So, around to why I'm here. A few weeks ago I signed up on OKCupid and just started exploring a little and thinking about what options might be out there for other romantic relationships. To be honest, I started with the (immature?) idea that having a "friends with benefits" situation would be ideal. I love my wife, but I feel like she can't meet my needs and wouldn't it be better to keep the family together for the kids and the stability, but add some spice to our lives (though, I must admit feeling a bit selfish for expressing it this way). I have no indication that she's at all interested in a similar situation, but I don't have a problem with that if she did.

As I explored I found some people in polyamorous situations and thought, hmm, could that work? Could an "open marriage" work for us? I've read about it, encountered a few people who live this way, so it's not a totally foreign concept to me. I don't want to idealize it for sure, and I found some basic information about it and have been learning. It is somewhat daunting; in my case how would I manage my responsibility to my kids and all the other things I do (I'm already busy), and then add another person or persons into the mix? It sounds complicated, difficult, and fraught with easy ways to make multiple relationships suck. On the other hand, it also sounds fulfilling, interesting, and a way to grow as a person ... if not a way to share with others and enrich other people's lives too. Sharing is good, right?

So, that's the intro. I've not said anything to my wife and would appreciate advice on ways that would be less dramatic to break it to her (and I'm pretty sure she would not be open to "opening" our marriage). It probably sounds strange to be here asking for what might be marriage advice. Or how to manage my sexual desires. Or anything in-between. But, what I've learned is that the poly community is really mature and skilled in this kind of thing and not afraid to say it like it is. I'm not interested in sugar coating things, just interested in finding a solution or situation that works for everyone.
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Old 02-21-2015, 01:16 AM
GreenAcres GreenAcres is offline
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Welcome to the board. Others will be along soon with some great links and resources.

If your marriage is not solid and going well, it's definitely not the time to open your marriage and start a poly relationship. It won't go well (even assuming your wife agrees). It's like having a baby to solve marital problems: it won't make it better, it will make it worse. Poly will shine a huge spotlight on every problem in your relationship. It's challenging for couples with rock-solid marriages to open them successfully, though it can be an amazing and rewarding experience; but, people looking to solve relationship problems with poly end up hurting everyone involved.

If your wife won't address the issues with you in your current state, this isn't the time to bring up opening your marriage. It will feel like a threat. The sex issues need to be addressed separately, and if sex is very important to you and your wife doesn't want to address it, there are other relationship issues there that should be worked on. She may have hormonal issues, emotional issues, relationship issues, etc.; but, don't make the mistake of thinking sex outside your marriage will necessarily make your marriage better, because it's not addressing the underlying issues.

Research poly, read the forums, read the books, and think about what you'd like out of it. But, before even considering doing it in practice, work on your relationship and yourselves (with a counselor, a poly-friendly one if you and your wife are really thinking you some day want to open your relationship). Successful polyships are formed for the same reasons as all successful romantic relationships, not as a way to solve current relationship issues.
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Last edited by GreenAcres; 02-21-2015 at 01:24 AM.
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Old 02-21-2015, 01:34 AM
ambivulous ambivulous is offline
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Originally Posted by GreenAcres View Post
If your marriage is not solid and going well, it's definitely not the time to open your marriage and start a poly relationship.
Thanks for your comments - yes, I totally understand. Our marriage is actually quite good ... just the sex part isn't. So, to be a little more specific - I'm wondering what would be a good way to bring up the idea of an open relationship? She's a pretty progressive person, but I think, like a lot of us, has this ideal concept of marriage and I'm not sure exactly how to break that without breaking us. Maybe that's not possible, I don't know.
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Old 02-21-2015, 01:39 AM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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Hello and welcome.

You are flirting with disaster, frankly. Polyamory is absolutely the worst possible way to try and fix a marriage that isn't working. It seems obvious to me there are deeper issues at work here, not just lack of sex. Your wife has health problems, isn't happy with no sex, but lacks motivation to change that, and doesn't want to talk about it. You are taking it all personally, letting resentment grow, and are looking in secret for options that will get you laid. Not a good start. Poly should begin from an open, loving, stable partnership where you and your partner have discussed all the options and possibilities and are in complete agreement about going forward. If you are getting the cold shoulder, I would say there are issues in communication between you two, as a start. There is also a strong possibility that your wife is very depressed.

If I were you, I would tell your wife, "We have to talk about this and find a solution. I cannot tolerate inaction anymore and this is serious - our relationship is at stake." Don't let a cold shoulder continue. You have to be as persistent and proactive as you wish she would be.

I would look for a couples counselor or marriage therapist right away. Forget about poly for now - just whack off until you two reach a place where you can amicably either seek out others or part ways. A solution to your unhappy sex life needs to happen first - sex and intimacy are a very important component of intimate partnerships like marriage and even though you say that is the only thing wrong and everything else is great, things don't become problematic in a vacuum. Believe me, I was in a marriage that was sexless for a few years before it ended. There is more behind the lack of sex. So, you need to fix that before even thinking about taking a lover. Otherwise, you are just bringing your problems and laying them at someone else's feet, hoping they will fix it all - basically doing what can only be done by you and your wife.

Besides, ask yourself what woman in her right mind would want to be a part of that scenario, as a FWB or anything else? That is way too much baggage and expectation to lay on someone. As a woman who practices poly, I would never want to be a Band-Aid for someone's failing marriage, just there to boost him up and sex him because he's unhappy at home. Yuck!
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Last edited by nycindie; 02-21-2015 at 01:47 AM.
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Old 02-21-2015, 01:47 AM
GreenAcres GreenAcres is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ambivulous View Post
I have been in a strictly monogamous relationship (for 17 years now) and it has been good (except for the sex, which started out "ok" and became non-existent over the last 10 years - after our youngest child was conceived). My wife has some health issues, but she's isn't happy with the situation either (we talked about it, but not enough - in my opinion). I feel like a nag (both in wanting sex and wanting to talk about it), and recently realized I feel unloved and neglected by her acceptance of a sexless marriage.

This past year I've felt a little more impatient and tried to press for some kind of resolution and improvement. But, well, I'm getting kind of the silent treatment / no change at all. I realize old habits die hard, but I've also been extremely patient for many years, and well, I've just run out of that patience.
This isn't a solid relationship. There are really big issues contained in those words above. Sex issues, yes, but also a horrible pattern of bad communication, which will come back to bite you in the butt if you open your relationship before it's dealt with. top that off with the resentment that rings through pretty clearly in your post, and I'm guessing your wife has some feelings about this, as well, especially if she has health issues that are contributing, and you have a recipe for disaster.

I know poly sounds exciting, and you want to jump right in. It sounds like a great "solve" for current problems. But, with the poor communication, resentment, and other issues that have built up in your relationship, you will only hurt your wife, yourself, and any prospective partner(s).

In my opinion, looking outside a relationship to largely compensate for missing pieces and as a solution to your issues in a current relationship is really unfair to any prospective partners. It's a huge burden, and one they usually don't realize they're getting saddled with until they're emotionally involved.

And, also, what does your wife get out of this? Is she allowed to have partners (which, despite not having a sex drive with you, she may want--NRE is a powerful aphrodisiac)? Now you are trying to manage a relationship with bad communication and multiple outside relationships. Or, is she expected to not have other relationships, because she doesn't want sex with you? I am sure you can see the stress that's going to cause.

All that said, if you have to bring it up to her, here is an entire thread on bringing up poly to partners:

http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=732
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Old 02-21-2015, 01:50 AM
GreenAcres GreenAcres is offline
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NYCindie, you and I were sharing a brain for a few minutes, it appears!
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Old 02-21-2015, 01:51 AM
Inyourendo Inyourendo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ambivulous View Post
Thanks for your comments - yes, I totally understand. Our marriage is actually quite good ... just the sex part isn't. So, to be a little more specific - I'm wondering what would be a good way to bring up the idea of an open relationship? She's a pretty progressive person, but I think, like a lot of us, has this ideal concept of marriage and I'm not sure exactly how to break that without breaking us. Maybe that's not possible, I don't know.
I would just tell her that you want to have sex and since she's not able to have sex with you you would like her blessing to look elsewhere for it. that's a huge part of why I got together with Nate was because I'm very sexual but my ex hardly ever have sex with me. only problem was my ex husband wasn't willing to let me have other male partners, quite honestly he wasn't even okay with me having female partners unless he was "in on it", so I had to make a choice and that choice was my happiness. hopefully that's not the case for you, you never know she might actually like having the pressure off of her I can imagine it must be a huge source of guilt for her knowing that she isn't able to help fulfill that huge desire for sexual intimacy with her
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Old 02-21-2015, 01:52 AM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenAcres View Post
NYCindie, you and I were sharing a brain for a few minutes, it appears!
Yes, I see that! That means we are both brilliantly insightful, doesn't it?
__________________
The world opens up... when you do.

"Oh, oh, can't you see? Love is the drug for me." ~Bryan Ferry
"Love and the self are one . . ." ~Leo Buscaglia

Click here for a Solo Poly view on hierarchical relationships
Click here to find out why the Polyamorous Misanthrope is feeling disgusted.
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Old 02-21-2015, 01:55 AM
GreenAcres GreenAcres is offline
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Yes, I see that! That means we are both brilliantly insightful, doesn't it?
Exactly!
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Old 02-21-2015, 02:29 AM
ambivulous ambivulous is offline
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Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
You are taking it all personally, letting resentment grow, and are looking in secret for options that will get you laid.

I would look for a couples counselor or marriage therapist right away. Forget about poly for now - just whack off until you two reach a place where you can amicably either seek out others or part ways.

There is more behind the lack of sex.
Wow ... ok, yes ... and I by no means mean to imply sex is the only thing lacking. There are other issues, but she's not perfect, I"m not perfect, I don't expect her to be. Communication is lacking, but it's not horrible. But again, we are really busy, kid stuff here and there, in-laws getting old (and needing care), and home ownership and all that. That's the "I'm busy" point. We're busy. And no, I don't see being "poly" as a solution or a fix for my marriage. Just, it made me think about things - - - and ...

as uncomfortable and pejorative as I've taken your comments, I brought it on and expected that (though to a lesser degree). But - to be honest, this kind of expression has been really helpful for me and I am trying to open up lines of communication and as far as anything in the poly world or OkCupid, or whatever, am just exploring intellectually - not actually/physically. I appreciate the warnings that trying to go off in secret to "get laid" is a really bad idea (and a little background, I'm quite inexperienced sexually ... having only had sex with my wife, and really only a couple other girlfriends that didn't amount to much).
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