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  #191  
Old 01-07-2012, 07:52 PM
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I agree that culture is an important thing not to be overlooked. Examining it is not racist or elitist, in and of itself.

For instance, we regularly attribute a spouse's reluctance to religious 'culture' and that is okay? Yes, it is. Culture is the fabric of our human existence. It comes in many forms and is something that we can never escape. AC's husband's culture is important to him, just like my culture is important to me or Dinged's to him. It shapes who you are and how you act.

Having grown up in a very traditional evangelical background, my parents would find it horrifying to know that I've dated non-Christian men. My interests in bisexuality, BDSM and polyamory would repulse them. They would likely react very strongly possibly even cutting ties. Does that make them bad people? Not necessarily. It means that their culture has taught them things, values and beliefs. It would be very difficult for them to see the world any differently. If they ever find out about this stuff, I hope they will try to look past their culture and see me. Not allowing their beliefs to define me as disgusting or abhorrent. Sometimes people are able to work past that to accept the lifestyles of their loved ones and sometimes they never do. It can be very difficult.

I feel that cultures from another country are similar. It's not that the Indian culture and its values that AC's husband holds are bad, they just happen to be somewhat incompatible with how AC wants to live. Until the two of them can reconcile their different beliefs and wants, they may feel very much at odds. And yes, it does have to do with culture. Just like a Christian spouse who feels unable to accept their partner's polyamory.

Their challenge is to create a new culture within their marriage that allows them to integrate their individual cultures in a way that both parties feel respected and valued. This will likely take time and lots and lots of work. This is something that every couple must do, in my opinion, even if they both grew up in the same country.

Last edited by ray; 01-07-2012 at 07:56 PM.
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  #192  
Old 01-07-2012, 08:00 PM
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Wow, truly unbelievable. How is this guy different than all the hundreds of partners who come here for advice when their spouse of 14 yrs has an epiphany and wants to screw other people.
Are you talking about me? I don't want to screw other people. I'm just having a hard time holding back the love I feel for my friend of 20 years and someone I met last year. And my husband has been aware of my struggle since at least mid-2010, so it's not something I've dropped on him suddenly, expecting him to immediately accept it.

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I can't remember one time where anyone tried to blame the persons culture or country.
Are you saying we need to ignore cultural context? The more I talk to him, the more apparent it becomes that the half of his life he spent in India formed some really deeply ingrained values and beliefs -many of which I appreciate, and a few of which I don't agree with. His beliefs about relationships, marriage, and sex make it particularly difficult for him to understand how I feel, and for me to understand how he feels.


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No one thinks he a bad guy ...just a jerk who views poly as being sick and perverse stemming from his backward culture.
When he views poly as sick and perverse, I feel judged as sick and perverse. It hurts. When he suggested we need to suspect C of pedophilia, and all childless men as more likely to be pedophiles, he was acting like a jerk. But we have talked about that, and there was a combination of his speaking in anger and me misunderstanding his comments, so it's water under the bridge now.

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I don't get it... he's been at this a whole month or 2 ... what the fuck is wrong with him he should be ok by now.
We set new boundaries a few weeks ago, and it all seemed to be going fine, until New Years Eve. When I realized he was discovering that he had more trouble with it than we expected, I offered to hold back. No one ever said something was wrong with him for that, least of all me.


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That's like a poly lifetime. Lots "western " poly folks have cycled through a few people by then.
I don't understand this. Cycle through? Are poly people more likely to cut new relationships off than mono people? I'm kind of a long term girl myself.

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Originally Posted by dingedheart View Post
AC you must NOT be reassuring him enough to compensate for the cultural differences.
I'm trying. And trying and trying and trying.

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Originally Posted by dingedheart View Post
AC how long is the standard or average recovery for pericarditis 3 weeks to a month? How long did it take you?
Pericarditis lasts from a few days to a few months. I took about 7 months. There were some partial recoveries with relapses but I've been well for about 6 weeks now. Thanks for asking.

Relax, dinged.
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  #193  
Old 01-07-2012, 08:05 PM
AnotherConfused AnotherConfused is offline
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Originally Posted by ray View Post
Their challenge is to create a new culture within their marriage that allows them to integrate their individual cultures in a way that both parties feel respected and valued. This will likely take time and lots and lots of work. This is something that every couple must do, in my opinion, even if they both grew up in the same country.
I agree! We integrate our separate backgrounds (India/US, male/female, and all our other differences) every day. It's a combination of acknowledging the environments that formed us, and striving to find common ground.

Last edited by AnotherConfused; 01-07-2012 at 08:08 PM.
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  #194  
Old 01-07-2012, 11:31 PM
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Originally Posted by AnotherConfused View Post
Are you talking about me? I don't want to screw other people. I'm just having a hard time holding back the love I feel for my friend of 20 years and someone I met last year. And my husband has been aware of my struggle since at least mid-2010, so it's not something I've dropped on him suddenly, expecting him to immediately accept it.
Yeah!


Quote:
Are you saying we need to ignore cultural context? The more I talk to him, the more apparent it becomes that the half of his life he spent in India formed some really deeply ingrained values and beliefs -many of which I appreciate, and a few of which I don't agree with. His beliefs about relationships, marriage, and sex make it particularly difficult for him to understand how I feel, and for me to understand how he feels.
Thank you for concurring with my comment upthread, which I made in the context of what you've told us about Indian cultural values. I felt bad being practically accused of racism or perhaps ethnicism by dinged. Of course, it's not your husband's lovely brown skin color or long glossy black hair that is the issue here, it's the values of his mother country in general and family values specifically that are affecting his extreme reaction to your love for other partners.

I've been in chat with an Indian-American guy for a year and a half, who really wants to date me, but his culture demands he live with his wife until his divorce is finalized, even though they have been "separated" for several years. He feels unable to get his own place because his teen nieces and nephews, god children, are going to college in the area, stop by on the weekends, and would report back to their parents, and his parents, living in India, and the extended family tie is so strong he fears being cut off from all of them, and disowned by his parents if he were to get his own apartment. He can NOT move out until his divorce is legally finalized. And I won't date him until he moves out. Obviously, this guy is OK with polyamory, but I am not going to run the risk of dating him with all the family pressure to keep up appearances.

Also this guy reminds me similar cultural values are shared in all of Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Views on women's rights are quite different in Western Europe and parts of the Americas, and that is exactly what is going on here.

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When he views poly as sick and perverse, I feel judged as sick and perverse. It hurts. When he suggested we need to suspect C of pedophilia, and all childless men as more likely to be pedophiles, he was acting like a jerk. But we have talked about that, and there was a combination of his speaking in anger and me misunderstanding his comments, so it's water under the bridge now.
I am glad you worked it out somewhat, AC, but I feel bad for you constantly being accused of being sick and perverse, when you are just a polyamorous feminist, wanting control of your own sexuality and love-style. How awful to hear your sweet beloveds accused of such a sickness and crime!

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I'm trying. And trying and trying and trying.
Bending over backwards and crawling on the floor with guilt and shame and mea culpas even!

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Relax, dinged.
Ditto, dinged. Your own pain being projected onto others' situations, your triggers, so to speak, are coloring your views here even more than usual. (I've got triggers too, I know how that can happen.) But accusing AC of not trying hard enough when she's trying so damn hard is difficult to read and my hackles rise with compassion and sisterly love.
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  #195  
Old 01-08-2012, 12:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Magdlyn View Post
I've been in chat with an Indian-American guy for a year and a half, who really wants to date me, but his culture demands he live with his wife until his divorce is finalized, even though they have been "separated" for several years. He feels unable to get his own place because his teen nieces and nephews, god children, are going to college in the area, stop by on the weekends, and would report back to their parents, and his parents, living in India, and the extended family tie is so strong he fears being cut off from all of them, and disowned by his parents if he were to get his own apartment. He can NOT move out until his divorce is legally finalized.
I worked with an Indian woman who was raised in traditional Hindu culture in Trinidad. She had an arranged marriage to a man about 20 years older than she, and they were required to live with his parents. Every morning she had to wake up and make chapati to her mother-in-law's satisfaction, even if it meant making it three or four times until the woman approved. She also had to maintain the home according to what made her in-laws happy, and wait on them all day long. Her husband deferred to his elderly parents in every way.

After about two years, her husband suddenly died, and she was forced out of her home and had to live with her widowed aunt because her right to live there had ended and a woman cannot live on her own, alone. There she was required to cook for and clean up after her aunt's son, who was an adult in his 20s - but she being a woman, it was her duty. He wouldn't even bring his dishes to the sink. That's where she lived when I met her. She was in her mid-30s, and had a college education, yet had to ask her aunt for permission whenever she was invited to any outing or party thrown by any of us who worked with her. She told me once a niece of hers was disowned when someone saw her drinking a beer. Indian culture has very concrete ideas about proper conduct and a woman's place in life.
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Last edited by nycindie; 01-08-2012 at 12:04 AM.
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  #196  
Old 01-08-2012, 12:17 AM
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Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
I worked with an Indian woman who was raised in traditional Hindu culture in Trinidad. ...There she was required to cook for and clean up after her aunt's son, who was an adult in his 20s - but she being a woman, it was her duty. He wouldn't even bring his dishes to the sink. That's where she lived when I met her. She was in her mid-30s, and had a college education, yet had to ask her aunt for permission whenever she was invited to any outing or party thrown by any of us who worked with her. She told me once a niece of hers was disowned when someone saw her drinking a beer. Indian culture has very concrete ideas about proper conduct and a woman's place in life.
Eek! What a story.

Of course, strict patriarchy affects men as well, as in the story of my male friend, above. He's not exactly able to live the life he wants to live now that his marriage has broken down, either. Nor can AC's husband live honestly, since appearances alone, and what others think, is much more important to him than what is actually going on in his marriage.
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  #197  
Old 01-25-2012, 09:50 PM
AnotherConfused AnotherConfused is offline
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I'm back. It's a little harder to write my thoughts freely here now that I know my husband may read them, but I still need help and I feel like I get it here.

We have had a hard time patching things up since New Year's Eve. We've discussed things over and over, and gone from angry and hurt to kind and calm, and earnestly trying to work on our relationship. I've decided not to be physically intimate with C or L, at least until I feel like it would work better. Most likely not ever with L, since it complicated our friendship.

But I still really want more with C. At this point it would be a trade off -if we enjoy intimacy, my husband won't allow him in my home or around my family. If not, he can be a part of our lives. I'm just not able to have a sexual or semi-sexual relationship with anyone who I am not so close to that I'd want him to be part of my life beyond that, so this is my choice. Next time I see C, he'll be driving my daughters and me to a friend's house 3 hours away -a carpool that happened to work out on his birthday. It will be a chaste visit.

So that's tough, but I'm willing to make that compromise, because my husband has leaned as far as he can in my direction to the point of getting hurt, and I don't want to do that to him. I want our marriage to work.

And yet, it's not working. I haven't been able to muster up any sexual desire for him since New Year's Eve. I don't know exactly why. At first I was just mad at him, but I'm not now. In some ways I think I'm afraid that my sexual nature is so abhorrent to him that I want to shut it down. I'm also not convinced he really loves me. I know he is 100% committed to me, provides for me, works hard for me, takes care of me, tries to make me happy... and I should just take all that and be content, but underneath it all I think he does it not because he loves who I am and wants to be around me, but because he made a decision to marry me. He made that decision in the very beginning of our relationship, the night he gave me his virginity, so I think it had to have been based quite a lot on hormones, and not just NRE but the only relationship energy he had ever felt in his life.

The other reason I doubt he loves me is because he has made comments before, about C and L (and others at times) only being attracted to me because I am a younger woman giving them attention, and that they wouldn't be so into me if they knew me as well as he does, because they only see one side of me, a happy side, and don't have to deal with all my ups and downs as he does. I know there's some truth to that, to being more excited about people we only get to see in small doses, but it leaves me feeling like I have a lovable facade hiding the difficult, demanding, less enjoyable woman my husband has come to know.

Should I care? I have a devoted husband who would do anything for me. That should be enough, right? But I think I'm drawn to L and C because I want to feel really loved. I've had arguments and anger and tears with both of them, so I think they see who I really am and still love me. I've been feeling bad about myself a lot lately, between long term illness making me feel useless, and gaining some weight, and my business hitting a financial downturn, and my polyamory messing up my marriage... I really want to feel loved. L looks at all that and gives me an honest scolding for what he thinks I'm doing wrong (like not seeing a marriage counselor yet), tells me I'm a difficult woman, and loves me in spite of it. Maybe even because of it. C just looks at me with stars in his eyes, tells me how much I've helped him grow into who he wants to be. They both make me feel truly loved, for being me.

Meanwhile my husband has started working out and dieting in hopes his new figure will attract me. He's simply gorgeous. I just don't know what my problem is.
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  #198  
Old 01-25-2012, 10:21 PM
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The other reason I doubt he loves me is because he has made comments before, about C and L (and others at times) only being attracted to me because I am a younger woman giving them attention, and that they wouldn't be so into me if they knew me as well as he does, because they only see one side of me, a happy side, and don't have to deal with all my ups and downs as he does.
Yeah, with comments like that, I wouldn't be able to have sex with him either. When my husband says stupid shit like that (or something similar) it replays in my head every time he touches me and I simply shut down and sex turns into a duty and nothing more.

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Meanwhile my husband has started working out and dieting in hopes his new figure will attract me. He's simply gorgeous.
Not going to help! It might make him feel better about himself and it might increase his sex drive, but probably won't do anything for your attraction to him. What some men seem to forget is that most women are NOT driven by visual stimulation like most men are, but the emotional aspect plays a much bigger role (don't get me wrong, visual stimulation is usually appreciated). My husband has a hard time understanding why I can't just rebound instantly once he has "explained" himself when we have had a misunderstanding.
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  #199  
Old 01-25-2012, 11:32 PM
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It has never been okay for me to hear hurtful words directed at my character. I lose interest immediately and take all my closeness away. Sex included. I can see why you would feel that way.

He is approaching it all wrong I think. He's approaching it from his looks and what he offers on the outside (financial support, etc.), not from what comes from his inside as in how he communicates and how that makes you feel. I think if I were you I would be asking him to trade the work-outs for workshops in how to communicate effectively and without being hurtful ("Non Violent Communication" maybe? Google it) and get both of you to couples therapy where they teach these skills.
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  #200  
Old 01-26-2012, 01:11 AM
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I should clarify. These hurtful comments are not the norm. They have just come up once or twice over the years. The majority of our conversations are respectful and definitely nonviolent, and if anyone is screaming nasty hurtful things, it's always me. (Hanging my head in shame.)

I'm coming to understand that he wants to love me by doing things for me -working hard, working out, buying me a luxurious lifestyle, getting up first every morning to make hot breakfast for the kids, taking care of me when I'm sick, and on and on. All good, and I'm grateful. But I feel like a giant responsibility, even a burden, because I don't feel like I offer anything for him in return. I'm not sure he gets any pleasure from my company. I feel like I disappoint him in many aspects of my life, especially during these past many months of illness, when I've had little ability to accomplish anything, even my own self care. It's as if the more he does for me (to show his love) the more I feel incapable in return (and the less lovable).

I just got off the phone with C, who just melts me with his love. He doesn't try to do anything for me, but tells me that he loves the sound of my laughter, and that unlike with any other woman he has been attracted to, he has never felt the urge to try to pretend to be a better person around me, because from the very beginning I've made him feel totally comfortable being who he is. To C, I am not a burden at all. Is it ok to let myself feel this love? I hope so, because I don't think it's something I could give up.
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