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  #21  
Old 11-09-2011, 02:37 AM
opalescent opalescent is offline
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AC,

I'm so sorry. Hugs to you, and to your husband.

My exwife and I broke up recently partly because she believed that I did not have an accurate view of her or our relationship. I didn't agree but there was enough hint of a truth there to be uncomfortable.

At any rate, have you told him just what you wrote above? (I realize you may be desperately trying to tell him just that and he can't listen right now.)
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  #22  
Old 11-09-2011, 02:44 AM
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You deserve better, hon. HUGS
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  #23  
Old 11-09-2011, 09:00 AM
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SchrodingersCat SchrodingersCat is offline
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I realize I'm coming in at the 11th hour and may not have all the facts, so I apologize if I'm missing some points.

I'm a firm believer that for polyamory to be successful, you need a solid base to work from. It saddens me when people turn to polyamory because they aren't getting what they want at home.

It sounds like you'd really like your relationship with your husband to be more emotionally fulfilling.

It also sounds like he isn't willing to change.

I feel sad when people stay together "for the kids." Kids aren't stupid. Take it from a grown child of parents who didn't sleep together... They'll have already noticed. It's not normal for married people to suddenly start sleeping alone in different beds, but kids assume that what their parents do is normal because it's all they know. It's worth considering what effect that can have on their development.

Your kids love Mommy and Daddy as people, not the idea of Wife-mommy and Husband-daddy. Of course they'll be sad if their parents get a divorce, but they'll get over it much faster than they'll get over 18 years of watching parents in a loveless marriage. I remember being 13 and my parents were fighting, and I was so upset I finally screamed at them: "Why don't you just get a divorce already!?!" That's when it dawned on them how much pain their relationship dynamics were causing me. They had already been sleeping on separate floors for a good 4 years by that point. My mom literally began the separation process right then and there. I was sad, but I knew even then that it was for the best.

Your husband needs to know that if he can't meet your emotional needs, then you need to leave the relationship to protect yourself and your kids.

Because hon, if your husband doesn't meet your emotional needs and isn't willing to change, then you need to leave the relationship to protect yourself and your kids. If it was just you, it would be your choice whether or not you wait it out and suffer, but when there's children involved, you need to consider the lessons they're learning.

I don't think your marriage is beyond hope, but it definitely will take a lot of work for things to improve. That won't happen overnight.

Would it be possible to make an agreement with your husband, that if you put the other guys on hold for one month, he'll come to counselling with you twice a week for that month?

That would show that you're willing to put a hold on your "immoral impulses" in order to save the marriage. Then at least, if he still refuses or if the counselling doesn't help, you can leave feeling that you did everything you could to save the marriage.

Right now, his context is "if you don't go for counselling, I'll just love these other guys instead." That's making him grumpy and upset, and frankly it should. I was born poly, and if someone told me that I wasn't good enough so they're going somewhere else but keeping me in the wings, I would say fine go, but don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Be prepared that fixing the marriage may require a two-way sacrifice: he will never want to get counselling while you're threatening to get love elsewhere. You may need to end the other relationships while you both work on the marriage. You may need to accept that he will never agree to a polyamorous lifestyle, and then you'll need to choose between polyamory or your marriage. Because the way it's been going, you can't have both. But don't say that he's leaving the marriage because he can't handle you loving other guys. Monogamy is what he signed up for. Accusing him of quitting the tournament because you suddenly changed the game isn't fair. Accept the responsibility that you need to leave the marriage if it can't fulfill your needs.
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Last edited by SchrodingersCat; 11-09-2011 at 09:53 AM.
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  #24  
Old 11-09-2011, 02:08 PM
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I know I am new to this community but I read this entire thread and I feel the need to reply on the children's behalf. I never saw where you mentioned the age of the children but it seems you may have not considered the emotional impact placed upon them for your decisions.

If you decide to see these other men in secrecy, and should it ever come to light, how are your kids gonna react, how will they think of you since obviously your husband has made it very clear that he will be hurt. Are you willing to be the cheater, the wicked witch who destroyed their father? Children may understand after they are adults, but lets be honest here, polyamory is a rare, alternative lifestyle not just anyone can understand, let alone children raised by one poly and one mono. He is their father. How much of his beliefs have been instilled in the kids?

If you get his blessing eventually, and you have visits with the other men, how will the kids respond? What will they think of you then? Remember, your husband fathered these children and I am assuming takes part in the raising of them and therefore may have either picked up on directly or indirectly the mindset of your husband on certain issues, this being one of them. Again, are you willing to be 'less than' in your children's eyes?

I only bring this up because it sounds like your husband is so adamant about this not happening for you and people not finding out that there is no way you wouldn't become the bad guy should the marriage end. If he weren't so against it, then maybe a period of conditioning for the kids would be possible so that the detrimental trauma to the kids wouldn't happen.

My children are grown and they are very aware that their mom is a open-minded and free spirit. Though I have not spoken to them directly about this poly decision my husband and I have made, I do not think they would have a big issue with it because of how I and my husband together have raised them. His children were not raised by us so they might have more difficulty accepting it than mine so before we just surprise them with a second mommy or daddy, we would have to have deep meaningful conversations to avoid any undue animosity or stress to them.

I wish you all the luck in the world. I am saddened that you feel so miserable in your marriage and you shouldn't have to feel that way. However, the marriage is a secondary category for the family unit, of which you are only 1 member. Maybe more thought and a deeper, larger conversation should be had about the responses and feelings of all the other members.

Good luck.
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  #25  
Old 11-09-2011, 03:35 PM
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Ahhhh, I'm sorry you're hurting from the other thread you wrote awhile back to this one (did I miss one?) I think you're right; he likes his idea of a wife and you aren't fitting it. He doesn't like the idea of you. Other will though, there is nothing wrong with you.
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  #26  
Old 11-09-2011, 05:17 PM
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I'm happy to report that we had a very positive talk last night, bringing us both to points of much better understanding and compassion, and a kind of resolution, while recognizing of course that things could change over time.

One thing we made sure to include when we wrote our wedding vows, was that we would cherish not only the people we were on our wedding day, but also who we would become, because we knew we would continue to grow and change in our lives and we knew it would hurt our relationship if either one of us expected the other to always stay the same. I know it has been a "game changer" for me to realize my polyamorous tendencies, but loving others is part of who I am. What I do about it is a choice, but I have felt judged for the feelings I have in spite of the consistent fact that I have not had sex with them, and I have continued to reiterate that I will not have sex with them if he doesn't feel ok about it. After a couple of years of this, I've been trying to uncover where the "not ok" feelings come from, and we actually made some headway on the subject for the first time last night.

SchrodingersCat, I agree that it is unhelpful to try to fix a relationship by adding more relationships. For years I've been telling him that while I love the attention I get from other men, what I want most is to get it from him. We've talked about it over and over, and sometimes he'll make funny contrived attempts to flirt, but nothing sticks. Last night I suddenly remembered how awkward I felt the first time his mother came to visit, and she would never say "good morning" or greet me when I entered a room. Then he explained that people don't really do that in India, where he grew up. I guess he acted a little more effusive when we were first together, but shifted back to his cultural status quo, and only as of last night became aware that my feelings are hurt when he wakes up each morning and leaves the bedroom without speaking to me, or comes home from work and goes right off to walk the dog without checking in with me for a minute or two. What a difference today, when he kissed me awake!

So yes, I know it's important to fix our relationship first, but beyond that I have a need for more intimacy (especially emotional intimacy) in my life, and I have feelings for the other two men, and those feelings don't go away when I have marital trouble, but those relationships do tend to start feeling awfully good in contrast. If I feel more affection, sex, warmth, etc. at home I won't feel as starved for it, and it will become easier to keep the limits on these other relationships. Just as it is easier to pass up junk food when your tummy is full of dinner than when you are hungry.

As for the kids (age 5 and 9), they have always known that Mommy is the social one, who has all the friends and invites them into our lives, does all the emails and manages the social calendar, and Daddy is the quiet one who likes to cook for big parties and enjoys it when people come over, but doesn't seek out friendships on his own. They know one of my loves as a man who has always been part of our lives, who comes visiting sometimes and is a lot of fun, who has a really fun house to go visit, whose teen and grown kids are also our friends... and because my husband is comfortable around him, I don't see that there is any negative effect at all. As for the other love, it's a newer relationship but they have spent time with him now and then and they like him. I don't see any reason why they would be bothered by either of these, just as they aren't bothered by the other friends I spend time with. They don't know about sex so it would not occur to them to wonder whether that is going on or not. There is no sneaking around, and I'm not kissing anyone in public.

Naturally they are effected by the dynamic between their parents. I don't think my husband had really considered the lack of demonstrated affection as a problem. I asked who his role models for marriage were, and he mentioned his parents. Their relationship included ongoing physical and verbal abuse, but it was a "successful" marriage because they raised a doctor, a lawyer and an engineer and stayed married until death parted them. But now I think he's starting to understand that for me, love and happiness are priorities right up there with making sure the kids have every educational opportunity. As of last night I think more warmth is going to show.

As of last night, I have come to a much better understanding of what he means when he loves me. It hurts that it is not the emotion that I associate with love (for instance, he doesn't think he'd feel heartbreak if I left him) but it's ok. It's his brand of love. Within that I think we can find happiness. We talked about how there are things about us that align (political views, values) and things that complement each other (my extroversion, his introversion) and he mentioned a friend who enjoys his mind for they way the two of them think similarly, in an area where he and I don't. Both are good -complementing, or matching. I mentioned that some aspects of my personality that contrast with his, are very similar to the personalities of the other two men, so for me they add another element to my life. The passionate romantic in me likes to discuss life with passionate romantic people, but I can appreciate that our relationship benefits from the fact that his emotions aren't as all consuming as mine can get. I think he accepted that.

The upshot: I feel less judged now and more loved. He's ok with me spending time with these guys, as long as I'm giving enough time to my family first. He's ok with me kissing them, as long as it's not in our home and as long as no one sees. He's not ok with me having sex or any other STD-risky activity. He's leaving the gray area in between up to me, with discretion and keeping it out of our home of utmost importance. I am very happy with this. It's not terribly different from what we had before, but this time I feel like I understand him much better, and he understands me. And wow, I love him for it.

Last edited by AnotherConfused; 11-09-2011 at 05:19 PM.
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  #27  
Old 11-10-2011, 12:22 AM
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That's great news!

It's good to hear that he's finally willing to listen your feelings and acknowledge your needs. Of course, this is just the beginning of change, and you'll probably have to remind him often and specifically about how you need to be treated, but if he's finally open to the idea then there's at least a chance he can change.

I'm not the least bit surprised to hear that his definition of "successful marriage" is raising financially successful kids. I go to school with a lot of people from asian cultures, and a lot of the younger generation struggles with that. Their parents want them to be doctors and lawyers, but they want to be dancers and scientists. It's a huge bone of contention, and many of the parents never give their stamp of approval.

I can't even begin to imagine growing up like that. I was so blessed to have parents who loved me no matter what and never cared about what job I had, as long as I was happy. I think that's the greatest gift a parent can give their child: unconditional support and love. Part of why my mom was so adamant about it was that she wanted to be a forest ranger, but her guidance counsellor told her women have to be nurses or teachers. She didn't want to spend her life cleaning out bedpans, so she chose teacher. She hated every minute of it, and didn't want me to suffer the way she had.
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Last edited by SchrodingersCat; 11-10-2011 at 12:24 AM.
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  #28  
Old 11-10-2011, 02:20 AM
AnotherConfused AnotherConfused is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
That's great news!

I'm not the least bit surprised to hear that his definition of "successful marriage" is raising financially successful kids. I go to school with a lot of people from asian cultures, and a lot of the younger generation struggles with that. Their parents want them to be doctors and lawyers, but they want to be dancers and scientists. It's a huge bone of contention, and many of the parents never give their stamp of approval.

I can't even begin to imagine growing up like that. I was so blessed to have parents who loved me no matter what and never cared about what job I had, as long as I was happy. I think that's the greatest gift a parent can give their child: unconditional support and love. Part of why my mom was so adamant about it was that she wanted to be a forest ranger, but her guidance counsellor told her women have to be nurses or teachers. She didn't want to spend her life cleaning out bedpans, so she chose teacher. She hated every minute of it, and didn't want me to suffer the way she had.
Yay for your mom! My husband was raised being told in no uncertain terms that his parents were sacrificing everything so he could become a successful professional. Aced his way through college and grad school on full scholarships and has a high position in his field, earning way more money than we need, and yet, he still feels like he is letting his father down because he hasn't come up with a pioneering invention or world-changing discovery and won a Nobel Prize. And his father has been dead for years.

I try to counteract that by stressing how much I want our kids to grow up and be HAPPY, and not slaves to our expectations. But then, he grew up where poverty was everywhere, severe, and could not easily be climbed out of, so he still carries that fear.

Sometimes I'm astonished how similar we are, given our starkly different environments growing up, and other times I'm shocked to discover differences I hadn't expected. Like the way we feel and express love, apparently. It challenges us to think beyond what we think is "normal" and decide what is best for our own lives.

All in all, today has been a happier day than I've had in a while.
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  #29  
Old 11-10-2011, 04:14 AM
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yay, so happy for you AC. I hope it holds What great discoveries you have made about each other. You really do love each other don't you... its obvious considering how hard you are both working on coming together again some how.
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  #30  
Old 11-10-2011, 07:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnotherConfused View Post
But then, he grew up where poverty was everywhere, severe, and could not easily be climbed out of, so he still carries that fear.
It's not an invalid fear, and it's as true in North America as it is in India, China, and Nigeria. We Westerners just do a better job of sweeping it under the rug and pretending everything is a-o-k. But if 2008 has taught us anything, it's that everything can change in a heartbeat.

But to me, that's all the more reason to protect the close relationships you have with people. Anyone can lose their job, house, lifestyle in a heartbeat. At that point, all you have left is the love of your family. Conversely, when you lose a loved one, all the money in the world won't make it any less painful.

The thing is, helping your kids to grow and be successful is not mutually exclusive with loving and supporting them.
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