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  #1  
Old 11-02-2011, 04:39 AM
DubiousProposition DubiousProposition is offline
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Default Is my marriage over?

Hi all. New here. Hope you're all well.

I don't know how to write about this. I'm not a very good writer, and I'm tired, bone tired, right now.

I'm not poly. Neither, had I thought, was my wife. What we are, or were, was swingers. Whether or not that's a variety of polyamory, I don't want to get into. Technically I suppose it is, but the two cultures seem a good bit different, and have not always been respectful of their differences. But...it is what it is.

Here's the deal: my wife has been seeing a man on the side for the better part of a year. She and he have gotten very close. Or rather, she's gotten close to him; he's distant and aloof and imperceptive of her feelings. or so I'm told. So last week she tells me that she loves him.

This was off limits for us. We had both promised to break things off with play partners if it started to get too serious. I'm crushed. I tell her I can't deal with it, that statement, that situation is a bridge too far for me. I can share her sexually. Not emotionally. I've made her very aware of this in the past, and she always assented to it. So tonight she tells me that she won't break it off, per our agreement. That the agreement was naive. And perhaps it was. I have, however, been awarded the right to ask her to stop at any time, although she tells me she doesn't feel obligated to listen.

In the end, I told her fine, do what you want. But if you go on with your lover after telling me this, you're killing me piecemeal.

I guess I have a choice. Accept a poly relationship and suffer, or don't accept it and still suffer. Not really sure what to do.
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Old 11-02-2011, 08:47 AM
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Hey and welcome,

I am sorry that you are suffering, I know this situation too well myself. I have been in the position of your wife and no, your marriage doesn't have to be over now.

I guess the discussion was heated and on your part quite desperate when you came to the conclusion that she should do what she wants. You need to sit down together again and talk about it in a more level-headed manner. Your wife got a point there when she said that the agreement was na´ve. Because you can't break off with feelings. That's the reason it will be hard for her to just follow your wish and write him off, because you normally can't stop feeling from one moment to the other.

But she needs to realize that she has some points on her agenda now as well. She can't expect you to hear about a new love in her life, clap hands and saying: Yeah, go for it! You need time to adjust to the thought, the consequences and to find out what you are able to handle and what not in this regard. You both need time. She will need some as well, because if she is still in love with you, she should aim at getting everyone she is involved with satisfied. At least this was my concern right from the start when I fell for my best friend.

The choice you have got now, is find a way to slow down to adjust to this new situation. Ask her to give you the time you need and to do it together with you. You will need each other during the steps that follow now if you decide to open up to more than sexual intercourse and allow feelings in the picture.

And a word of encouragement: I never stopped loving my husband. The love didn't diminish or felt less important to me. The new love simply added to all the love that was already there. Good luck to you.
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Old 11-02-2011, 12:07 PM
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Magdlyn Magdlyn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DubiousProposition View Post
Hi all. New here. Hope you're all well.

I don't know how to write about this. I'm not a very good writer, and I'm tired, bone tired, right now.
Welcome, Dubious. I hope you got some rest. Being in this emotional new place in your relationship will be more easily dealt with if you can get sleep, eat nutritious foods and get some exercise to clear your head. More easily said than done, I know. But please try to take care of yourself.

Quote:
I'm not poly. Neither, had I thought, was my wife. What we are, or were, was swingers. Whether or not that's a variety of polyamory, I don't want to get into. Technically I suppose it is, but the two cultures seem a good bit different, and have not always been respectful of their differences. But...it is what it is.
We actually get a good number of swingers or former swingers here. Some of them are in "swinging" relationships where there are ongoing relationships with partners which sound more poly (ie: caring for each other, having meals together, enjoying talking and laughing as much as the sex, etc) than like swinging.

How long have you and your wife been together? How old are you? How long have you been swinging?

Quote:
Here's the deal: my wife has been seeing a man on the side for the better part of a year. She and he have gotten very close. Or rather, she's gotten close to him; he's distant and aloof and imperceptive of her feelings. or so I'm told. So last week she tells me that she loves him.
Gosh, why should she love someone who is distant and aloof?

Quote:
This was off limits for us. We had both promised to break things off with play partners if it started to get too serious. I'm crushed. I tell her I can't deal with it, that statement, that situation is a bridge too far for me. I can share her sexually. Not emotionally. I've made her very aware of this in the past, and she always assented to it. So tonight she tells me that she won't break it off, per our agreement. That the agreement was naive. And perhaps it was. I have, however, been awarded the right to ask her to stop at any time, although she tells me she doesn't feel obligated to listen.

In the end, I told her fine, do what you want. But if you go on with your lover after telling me this, you're killing me piecemeal.

I guess I have a choice. Accept a poly relationship and suffer, or don't accept it and still suffer. Not really sure what to do.
Well, poly doesn't have to mean suffering. There are quite a few happy polys on this board!

Personally I think swingers are playing with fire. Unless you always fuck a random stranger, there is always a chance for feelings to develop. Bonding hormones are released during sex which can often make us feel closer to our sex partners. If one has a certain fuck buddy who also makes us laugh, is irresistably cute, has interesting stories to tell, all that, plus great sex, can make us feel close emotionally, and fall in love. New love, which we call NRE (new relationship energy) can feel quite overwhelming, often obsessive. Experienced poly people are aware of this and have coping skills to keep the primary relationship alive and juicy.

I'd say your wife is just feeling normal feelings that anyone can have for a nice play partner. (I'm just concerned she is falling for an aloof distant man. What's up with that?)
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Old 11-02-2011, 12:18 PM
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AnnabelMore AnnabelMore is offline
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Hey Dubious, welcome. There are many people for whom this gets easier over time. It sounds entirely possible that your wife is merely infatuated if there is no real intimacy between them, but the fact that love was forbidden probably made it all the more irresistible for her to feel this way. This in no way has to end your marriage as long as you still feel like you can trust her and she has respect for you and your feelings, even though she's taken this painful step in order to honor her own feelings.

Some questions --

Have you met the play partner? Do you know him as a person. Has she told *him* how she feels?

Why do you think this feels so impossible for you? Is it an issue of jealousy, fear, feeling not important any more, all of the above?

Mags is right, get some sleep and good food in you above all else.
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Old 11-02-2011, 06:49 PM
MichelleZed MichelleZed is offline
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Hi Dubious--

You're going to be fine!

The first thing is that you should let go of any resentment you have towards your wife. When you're having regular casual sex with someone as she was, feelings develop, and for awhile, they're "acceptable" feelings, like friendship and affection, and at some point, they turn into what we call love, and it's really hard to sort of ride that line between those feelings. She didn't betray you: her feelings grew naturally out of the situation and it was probably impossible for her to properly gauge that exact time when it got too serious and she should have stopped. Falling in love with a sexual partner is totally natural and could happen to anyone.

But now she is in love, so just abruptly ending things with this guy is going to be hard for her to do, and something that would hurt her very much if she did have to do. I hope you can take pity on her and allow her to change the situation more gradually, for the sake of her emotional health.

I have to say that this doesn't change your situation or every day life much. Your wife was already seeing this guy, right? And you were fine with it? Well, it'll still be exactly like that. She's just going to keep seeing him the same way she was. If you were happy with how she was treating you and your marriage before, expect it to be about the same now. She was just giving you a little heads-up that her feelings for this guy were serious, in the interests of full disclosure and keeping you in the loop.

It's probably not a good idea to spend too much time worrying about the label of what your doing. Is it swinging? Is it polyamory? Just enjoy what's happening. Your wife is seeing another guy on the side, which you were always fine with. Don't worry about what it's called.

Love is not a scary thing. Love isn't like a pie where if she gives a piece to this new guy, she has less for you. Love is a catch-all word that describes the natural feelings of affection, concern, friendship, etc. that grow for the people in our lives that we spend the most time with. That's all. Think of all the people you love: maybe your parents, siblings, children, friends, maybe some exes, your wife. The feeling isn't dangerous. It grows out of them being around, and you wanting to be with them.
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Old 11-02-2011, 07:19 PM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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My comments for now will not address the fact that your wife has feelings for someone apparently distant and aloof. More about that in another post.

I think it would be good for you to examine the disconnect you feel between sex and love. I understand that this ability may be more prevalent among males, but I feel that that's mostly just societal conditioning. I bring it up because it has always stupefied me how often a husband comes here and says they were perfectly fine passing their wives around in swinger situations, for their bodies to be used as sex toys by other people, but rail against any emotional involvement. However, think about it - doesn't your wife deserve to be cherished and respected by anyone she's physical with, and to have all the love in the world come her way? And for her not to hold back an integral part of herself in relating to others? Why be stingy about love and yet still be okay with her being just some wet hole for someone to fuck and think nothing more of her? You say it will kill you if she continues to be with this guy and have feelings for him; it would kill me if my husband only wanted me to be someone's convenient receptacle to cum into. I would literally have to deaden myself to allow that, just like a rape victim would have to somehow escape in their mind from the trauma and disassociate from what is going on.

And I am someone who enjoys casual sex, so I'm not against the sex -- but my whole self has to be involved or it is simply empty and demoralizing. And if I am in a loving relationship, I'd be devastated if my partner didn't see how beautiful it is to be loving as well as sexual with others.

I'm not putting it in these terms to be judgmental about what you're going through; I'm just trying to give you another perspective.

She's a person who has feelings and no amount of rules and agreements can prevent emotions from coming up when they do. It's not like she fell in love on purpose. But sex, if it's more than just mechanical stimulation, is an intimate act -- and intimate acts bring up feelings. See if you can imagine yourself loving another person, too. If you can open yourself up to the possibilities that polyamory can bring you, you may find your life so much more enriched by the experience of being surrounded by love, love, and more love, as opposed to lots of recreational sex and loving feelings confined to only where they're "supposed to be."

Edit: Oh, I love what MZ wrote about not being scared of love, in the post above!
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Last edited by nycindie; 11-02-2011 at 07:53 PM.
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Old 11-02-2011, 08:42 PM
DubiousProposition DubiousProposition is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nycindie View Post
I bring it up because it has always stupefied me how often a husband comes here and says they were perfectly fine passing their wives around in swinger situations, for their bodies to be used as sex toys by other people, but rail against any emotional involvement.
I'll have more later, but let me just ask the following question: are you assuming here that initiated this behavior? I didn't. It was her idea to be "passed around". For the record.
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Old 11-02-2011, 09:03 PM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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No, you misunderstand. I'm not accusing you of anything. I used strong language just to show another perspective.

Of course, I would hope that she wasn't going along with swinging just because you wanted it. Everyone is responsible for their own actions. I know what it's like to be horny and just want to get off. Nothing wrong with that. I am sure that she enjoyed or still enjoys swinging and having recreational sex. My point was to express some ideas about separating sex from love, to give you another way of looking at it. I was addressing what you see as okay (the sex) and what you see as not okay (the love, extending beyond the relationship she has with you). Anything I wrote was not to pass judgment nor accuse, but to provide some food for thought. That is all.

Your story is a common one. When ex-swingers come here and post, it is almost always the men who object to love being in the equation and I say the same thing to all of them: ask yourself why it is okay for your wife to be just a body to other people and a whole person only to you. Doesn't that seem a bit possessive (funny, that, though, since we're talking about swinging)? But it is possessive if anyone thinks they can set a rule and control another person's emotional responses in life. Lots of couples come here wanting to try poly and the women want the love with the sex, but the men just want the casual sex [usually, though not always, the case]. I think this is what has been conditioned into us. But I know that there are plenty of women who feel fine separating the two as well. Either way, I think it can be very productive and illuminating to look at, examine, and dig deep underneath why that separation is there, see what our attitudes are and where they came from, in order to come to terms with a change in the relationship, and your rules.

MZ had some good points about not making such a big deal over the word "love" and what it stands for.

I also thought it could be helpful to see another side of it, namely that sex doesn't have to be disassociated from love. And that someone you love deserves being loved, even from other people. The title you gave your thread is "Is my marriage over?" No, it doesn't have to be if you can allow space for something new, like love in multiple partner relationships, and trust that your wife didn't go and break your rules purposely or with any dastardly goal in mind. If you do choose to embrace polyamory, then you two will need to sit down and renegotiate boundaries.

I also think Magdlyn made some great points, too! And you may want to read some books about poly, if you haven't yet.
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Last edited by nycindie; 11-02-2011 at 09:33 PM.
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Old 11-02-2011, 09:42 PM
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I don't knwo why but I thought you might get something good out of the discussion in this thread. It's an old one, but a good one: http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=998
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Old 11-03-2011, 05:54 AM
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Wow, great posts Mags, Michellezed. *like* NYCindie, your passion is sounding like mine! I got your point, even if he didn't say that he had passed around his wife.

I didn't have much more to add other than that there are a lot of threads tagged here under "swinging" if you would like to read about others that have come here and expressed similar concern.

I especially liked Mzed's post because it made me think of the reverse of what she was saying. She talked about how things would likely not change much and how its really perception that makes our mind go down the path it does around emotional connection... to me it could be its the same with having sex with others out side of a relationship... I have sex because I am attached to someone some how in a bond or connected with love. It used to be because I had sex with them that I got attached/connected/bonded, but now I find the connection first and then carry on to sex after (not that it ever comes up in my life any more, interestingly connection is not as prevalent when I took sex out of the equation as the first response to someone I find attractive). I could easily say to my partners that I am going to have sex and that nothing would change, that it is all perception etc.... provided I practice safe sex, what's the difference.

Sorry, I hope this isn't a hijack too much. I am thankful for the new perspective.
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