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  #11  
Old 01-15-2012, 07:09 PM
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I have been where you are now. Take some time before making a decision.

For me after much thought it was best to end my marriage. We had other issues that could not be fixed.
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  #12  
Old 01-16-2012, 02:41 AM
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I agree that this doesn't just sound like NRE. Poly can test your relationship and it is possible for te results of that test to be, we don't belong together like this. Obviously, this would be a big decision. I like the idea of considering whether or not you'd want to stay with him even if the bf wasn't in the picture. And the possibilities for change in your marriage. Can it be fixed and do you want to try?
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  #13  
Old 01-16-2012, 07:36 AM
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All great responses here! I am wondering about how much of this you are communicating to him. What has his experience been with this man's wife? What does he know of your journey in this? It sounds like its time for a talk to see where you are both at. I agree that it may be too early to tell what to do. NRE takes up to a year to get through. I would wait, even if its only to make a plan to move on.
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  #14  
Old 01-16-2012, 08:47 PM
sarahfina sarahfina is offline
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Thank you to everyone for your responses so far- it is helpful to share this with people who are constructive in their thinking! In answer to some of the questions coming up:

Yes, I have shared quite a bit of this with my husband. He knows that my experience with my OSO has led me to see the cracks in our marriage, as a previous poster named it. I have shared with my husband that I am getting significant needs met by my OSO that I have always asked him to meet- none of these are new needs, but ones that have been reoccurring in our marriage. I expressed to my husband that it is challenging for my brain not to go down a path towards making conclusions about the things I'm feeling, but that it is my intention to take my time and notice what is going on for me, and also give him time to work with me towards solutions within our marriage.

I think I have spent years repressing my needs and actually got really good at functioning within my marriage and in relation to my husband despite these needs not being met- we all strategize to support our vision of things, and so I think I had developed a way of avoiding noticing those issues, or explaining it to myself in a context that minimized my needs, so I didn't need to dissolve my marriage. Suddenly I meet this new man, and he just meets those needs innately, without me having to ask, beg or plead. Its a very startling experience for me. I've been in relationship with my husband since I was 20- so really, he has been my definition of relationship to a great extent. I hadn't realized what else might be possible.

To clarify what I mean by needs, I don't think its just the things that NRE propels lovers to do...its the bigger things. Feeling cherished, feeling like my partner appreciates me and values me, those needs are there too and met by my OSO more than my husband....but overall, it is things like really being present in the relationship and the day to day needs: fixing things around the house, investing in the relationship, being engaged in the day-to-day needs of the house and family, having the capacity to actualize the dreams we hold. I guess maybe the most startling realization I've had is that I very much have a "we" perspective when I am in relationship: thinking of the unit, the whole family, how to work together for the betterment of everyone. I realize that my husband has, and always has had an "I" perspective: focused primarily on his needs, what serves him. This innate difference in us obviously creates an unbalance in our marriage and life.

Someone asked how I think it would be for me and my OSO in the day-to-day reality of life, that maybe it is because we are the "others" to one another that it works so well....and actually I think it is exactly because I can see how much better we would do in the day-to-day work of life than my husband and I do that I am drawn towards my OSO. I feel like with him I could build the life I've always wanted and feel like I have not been able to build with my husband because of the difference in our values, work ethics, motivation, capacity, foresight, consideration, and basic ideas of what a relationship should look like.

Communication is another big place where my husband and I struggle and my OSO and I experience ease- even when there is conflict, or emotional challenges. My husband's needs are to avoid communication, where as mine are to engage, process, and connect through communication. My OSO shares my communication style, which makes communication really natural and easy. He reads me well and responds appropriately to me. My husband can never read me and rarely understands even when I express myself clearly in different ways, and still often disengages rather than responds in a caring way.

My OSO, by nature of his personality, character and temperament, offers a partnership that is equal, where as my husband will acknowledge in our dialogues that he only ever really carries about 30% of his 50% share in our marriage.

And apart from the big needs like having an equally involved and invested partner who wants a similar relationship, there are the small things that are perhaps more NRE based but impactful none the less. My OSO is free with his verbal compliments of me, my body, my ways of interacting with him, his appreciation of me, etc. My husband almost never (not in the beginning, not now) tells me that I am great, beautiful, inspiring etc. After a decade, I'd started to think those things just must not be true about me, and so I guess for me the impact of hearing someone articulate them to me is intense. In some ways, I feel like my husband is indifferent to me: like I am not that important to him. With my OSO, I have never felt that.


I know it seems that I am comparing the two men, which of course is not helpful. I think the situation is not so much that I am comparing the new man to the old, but rather that I am holding each of them up against my own idea of what I want for my partner, my life, my family and what I am seeing is that one of them has shown me for the last decade that we simply don't overlap in some really key places, while the other has shown me over the last few months that we easily overlap in most of those places.

Counseling is an option. My husband and I spent about a year working with a really great counselor on issues such as commitment and non-monogamy. We have not seen her in the past year, and I actually just made an appointment to go on my own for now, to process some of what I've written above. While I don't want to keep things from my husband, I want to feel free to articulate MY experience with the counselor without worrying about how he feels in response. Honesty and transparency is key to our open marriage, and I don't want to undermine that, but I also want to be careful how I navigate this topic. Clearly it is significant.

Okay....thats a novel. Sorry, I have not been sharing this aspect of my life with my friends/family so it is a lot to unload!! Thanks for the support and insight.
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  #15  
Old 01-17-2012, 04:10 AM
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Thanks for sharing! Wow- this is such an awesome support group! I am impressed with all of the great feedback!!

What came to mind for me as I read through your posts is that this is one of the advantages of a poly lifestyle. My primary partner doesn't meet some of my needs, and, I am free to pursue relationships with others who may be able to meet them. So- I am not resenting him for not being interested in satisfying those needs- the pressure is off!

Are you familiar with the MBTI? I bet if the three of you took a free online test, you would find that you have a greater natural temperament compatibility with your secondary than you do with your husband. (msg me if you want a link for that). If you send me the results for the three of you, I will give you some feedback on that. (I am a certified MBTI facilitator)

Sometimes looking at that can help and it can also help in just letting go of certain expectations that are not going to be met by someone who doesn't have the temperament to do so. It can also shine the light on what your husbands strengths are so you can begin to focus on what he does have and try to balance things out a bit.
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  #16  
Old 01-17-2012, 04:25 AM
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WOW, you sound so much like me. Those are all things I went through and dealt with in my own marriage. Our problem was I didn't realize it nor did he and we didn't try to fix it until it was to late. By the time we realized it the damage was done and our marriage couldn't take anymore. We had become the epitome of dysfunctional and it was doing more harm than good to stay in the marriage.

I had to put in a lot of thought before I left my marriage. In the end it turned out to be the best thing for me. I have learned so much from my marriage and its ending. I learned things about myself I hadn't known before and I learned things about life and relationships in general.

I'm not saying you should do what I did. Only you and your husband can determine what is best for the both of you and your marriage.
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  #17  
Old 01-17-2012, 06:31 AM
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You sound a lot like me too. I am completely fulfilled with the partners I have BECAUSE they are different. I don't see that I need to find everything in just one when I can find it in all of them.

My husband communicates but we often miss each others point and message entirely. He often finds certain things important whereas I don't. He is an introvert, moody and pessimistic quite often, goes to bed early and needs a lot of time alone and at home. I go out a lot, am optimistic, emotional but in a different way, stay up late, have tons of friends and thrive on them. But he is funny, a really good dad, creative, has similar values in life to me, gets behind the same causes, understands poly inside and out as we have lived it together for our whole relationship of 13 years.

My boyfriend understands me emotionally, is by my side for everything, contributes to the house like no one else has, is like a big kid that brings a full of life feeling to a room that matches mine (or prompts me to be similar) and is loved socially by all for his sense of humour and playful nature.

My girlfriend is my female rock. Without her I think I would go insane. She understands the stuff women go through and I am so grateful that she loves and accepts me as a woman where most women don't (I have a lot of male energy in my house and my years of being lesbian identified have made me different some how to the point where the women I usually met don't get me). She understands stuff that the men don't and she and all of them get along, work well together, care and support each other as I do them. It is a balance, but it took three year to get to that.

I like the work you are putting into figuring this stuff out sarahfina. I also do alone work before I approach really important issues. Transparency and honest, open communication are important but its equally important to check how I say things and what I think and feel before opening my mouth and cause someone unnecessary pain.
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  #18  
Old 01-17-2012, 08:23 AM
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People have commented about how different needs can be met by different partners in poly. I have experienced some of this as well; poly has helped me to appreciate Alec more for who he is since I don't focus on what he can't give me. So that is a valid point. But I am not sure it is valid in your situation.

There is a difference to needind something in your relationship life, in general, and needing something from your partner, specifically. I made this kind of list earlier in my journal
Quote:
Originally Posted by rory View Post
What I need in partnerships in general:
- love; caring about and liking each other
- respect
- honesty
- communication
- autonomy; space and support for leading happy and fulfilling lives outside of the relationship
- intimacy
- support in hardship
- consideration
- connection

What I want in my relationship with Mya:
- I want to share everyday life and have our own routines: right now I feel good about this aspect since we usually skype every other day for several hours
- Regular physical contact (ideally more than we can now we're in a LDR): hugs, cuddles, kisses and sex
- About sex: I'd like to be able to have more, obviously, but I also wish to explore things together, and keep up the level of communication about it that we have established from the start
- Philosophical/analytical conversations

What I want in my relationship with Alec
- I want to continue sharing everyday life and again have our own routines: e.g. I want to keep in place for most days our habits of eating together watching dvds (dinner and/or evening snack; doesn't have to be every meal)
- Again, regular cuddles, hugs, kisses and sex
- I want to have space for of physical contact and non-verbal communication we have. I like to have many (even brief) moments of time alone together, but much of it isn't necessarily uncomfortable for other people (and not sexual in nature) and we can do some of it if the people are close enough and we feel comfortable, like if Alec's family is present. I'd like it if in time our poly-family was in that kind of comfortable place (but I will not try to force it, it'll come if it does).
- About sex: here communication often doesn't come naturally, since we had so many years of not talking much about sex. But I have started our heavy talks and made a commitment in my head to keep them up, since that's essential for our sex life to work (which, in turn, is essential for our partnership to work). My sexual preferences when having sex with a male have turned out to be really fluid, so expressing them needs to be done a lot. We have started to forge a broader common ground through communicating and exploring , and I want to keep that up.
You see that the list of what I need in a partnership is longer than the one specifying what I want to have on top of that with my specific partners. It doesn't matter how much love or communication or connection or respect I am experiencing with my other partner(s), if even one of those things is missing in my relationship with one of my partners, it will not be sustainable.

I really like the analytical conversations that I have with Mya, which happen more rarely with Alec, so I would say that's a "need" that I've been able to meet through poly. But wanting to sit down regularly and analyse something to death isn't a need for me in a partnership, but something I really enjoy doing in life. I can have a very satisfying partnership even if my partner doesn't enjoy that kind of thing, but rather likes to discuss concrete things in our lives.

Most of the things you list sound like things you really need in a partnership. Doesn't matter if you have 10 other partners who make you feel loved and communicate with you and are present in your everyday life, if your husband can't do those things it may well be the end of your relationship with him. This has very little to do with your OSO or poly, other than your relationship with him is making you realise these things are something a person can have in a partnership. That you don't need to settle.

I think it's good that your planning to go to counseling. And it's good to go alone. You aren't keeping things from your husband by going alone, you're just trying to get things clear in your head in order to understand them yourself and to be able to better express them.
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  #19  
Old 01-18-2012, 10:39 PM
sarahfina sarahfina is offline
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Most of the things you list sound like things you really need in a partnership. Doesn't matter if you have 10 other partners who make you feel loved and communicate with you and are present in your everyday life, if your husband can't do those things it may well be the end of your relationship with him. This has very little to do with your OSO or poly, other than your relationship with him is making you realise these things are something a person can have in partnership. That you don't need to settle.

Yes- exactly.

I share some of the thoughts others wrote about poly being great for finding what we need in more than one person, since no one person can ever provide it all....I guess part of the challenge now is that I am finding my OSO meeting all of my major needs, but not really being in the role to do so. And that I am not able to enjoy him fully and our relationship and partnership potential because he is the other, while my husband- who can not or will not meet those needs, continues to fill the role that is primary, but not in the ways I want. And yes, it is very much about me realizing which things I can not be without.

Does anyone know of a good worksheet or website to help formulate for myself a list of all the things I want in relationship or partnership? I know I could make this list from scratch but I think having something to prompt my thinking might propel me into this further than I might get on my own, or with less bias coming from the position I am in.

Thanks again for all the thoughts. Its helpful.
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  #20  
Old 01-19-2012, 04:29 AM
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I agree with those above who've said that it sounds like the partnership between you and your husband is lacking some things that are just necessary for a partnership. It sounds like figuring out what you want (ie list making) is an awesome place to start.

How to Be an Adult in Relationships: The Five Keys to Mindful Loving By David Richo has some good content that might be helpful in formulating a checklist. I'm sure there are a million books that could be helpful. I bet even doing a google search might turn up some good things. You've inspired me...I'm not really in a relationship right now but I think I want to make some lists about what I need in a partnership. Sounds like a good thing for me to learn more about now while I'm young and unattached. Whatever the outcome, in my opinion, inner work like this is so useful and productive. I bet you'll gain a lot from making such a list.
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