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Old 01-14-2012, 06:21 AM
sarahfina sarahfina is offline
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Default Since deepening relationship with "secondary", feelings changing for "primary"

I am in an open marriage that came out of my husband's longing for this freedom. It took us a couple of years to get here, and was the result of me seeing that he would not likely be able to stay in our marriage (of 9 years) if we didn't have an open marriage. We took our time, building a framework that respected each of our needs, and slowly began to move forward.

This summer we began seeing another couple, also married. We see them separately, but we do spend time together with them regularly- we both have two young boys similar ages, so it works for the kids to spend time together. We all get along well and there are relatively few problems in our interactions.

However, my relationship with my secondary has developed significance and deep emotional involvement. (This is not the case between my husband and his secondary, which is mainly sex and activity focused with a friendship basis) My secondary and I are very similar and we are both having the experience of having needs met by one another that our primary partners have never met- in my case significant needs that I have asked for throughout our relationship but that my partner was never able or interested in meeting.

For me, the experience of finally having these needs met and being treated in such nurturing, loving ways by my new partner really highlighted for me what is lacking in my marriage. This realization is leading me to feel less love for my husband, and to feel less able to stay in a marriage that has never met my needs. I think for years I've been able to cope with getting less that what I wanted because I strategized, explained it to myself with all kinds of stories, and just generally accepted things as they were, even though part of me knew it wasn't what I wanted. Now that I am getting what I've always wanted -but from a different man- I am confused, and feeling less tolerant of my husband and the ways he is failing to meet my needs - which I communicate clearly and which mainly focus around being an equal partner, participating fully in our marriage, showing love and appreciation etc.

Now I also realize that there is a significant amount of NRE flying around with my secondary so I'm trying not to jump to conclusions right away. Also challenging is that my secondary is having pretty much the same experience/realizations about his partner/marriage...

Any thoughts on how to proceed? Is this just NRE/new love or are my realizations about my partner/marriage accurate? I guess someone else can't answer that for me. But insight or experience with this would be appreciated. I don't want to leave my husband due to a NRE high, but I also am feeling less able to be in this marriage and more clear about who I am and what I need...I guess part of the open-marriage arrangement helped me to come back to myself and my own authenticity and its stirred up a whole lot of questions about what I've "Accepted" vs "chosen" and what I want my life to look like in the future....

Thanks for reading!
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Old 01-14-2012, 11:57 AM
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rory rory is offline
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It doesn't sound like NRE high, it sounds like deep down you've known the incompatibility in your marriage, and the new relationship is bringing it to light, and you can't bury it anymore.

How miserable do you feel staying where you are? If you do want to be sure, you could wait for the NRE to be over, and see how you feel...
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Old 01-14-2012, 12:04 PM
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BlackUnicorn BlackUnicorn is offline
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NRE and poly brings out the cracks in your primary/established relationship to a very sharp focus. I don't think there is any reason to despair yet. All relationships have issues. The new one will end up having those, too.

Have you discussed this with your respective partners?
Me: bi female in my twenties
Dating: Moonlightrunner
Metamour: Windflower
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Old 01-14-2012, 05:04 PM
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AnnabelMore AnnabelMore is offline
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Have you and your husband tried marriage counseling? Is there any chance that this -- you potentially leaving -- could be the wake-up call he needs to start trying to meet your needs, or is he just incapable of it?
Me, 30ish bi female, been doing solo poly for roughly 5 years. Gia, Clay, and Pike, my partners. Davis, ex/friend/"it's complicated." Eric, Gia's husband. Bee, Gia and Eric's toddler.
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Old 01-14-2012, 05:12 PM
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nycindie nycindie is offline
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It's only been since the summer that you've gotten involved with your lover, which is really just a short amount of time. So I would say that is is very likely the euphoria of NRE you are experiencing right now. This is no time to be making big decisions. However, that is not to say there aren't also still issues in your marriage that need to be addressed. Perhaps counseling or therapy can help in that regard, especially if you are frustrated from expressing to your husband what you need and still feel that you are unacknowledged and your needs unmet.

Consider also the possibility that your relationship works very well for both you and your boyfriend specifically because you are partnered with other people. You and the bf do not have the concerns of a married couple with children, a household, shared finances, familial obligations. You can just relax and be yourselves with each other, likely in a setting free of such responsibilities. Of course it feels like freedom! If you both left your respective spouses and ran off together, I am sure things would be very different when you two start wrestling with divorces, custody or visitation, finances, expectations around jobs and housework, while setting up house and so on. But the grass is always greener...

Breathe, get your feet back on the ground, take baby steps in this relationship. Keep doing what you can to make your marriage work. Ask your husband to go with you to therapy, and keep communicating. It may be necessary for you both to pull back a little bit on the frequency of interactions with your OSOs, so that you can get your marriage grounded and strong again.
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

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Last edited by nycindie; 01-14-2012 at 05:15 PM.
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Old 01-14-2012, 05:17 PM
monkeystyle monkeystyle is offline
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Does your husband actually know any of these thoughts that you're having? Have you considered communicating any of this to him before proceeding?

Since you haven't provided much detail of what's wrong with your marriage, there's not a lot to go on. I'd say more than anything it looks like you're comparing something new and shiny to something worn and used. Never a good idea since eventually all things lose the luster.

I'd suggest taking a step back from the new relationship and spend some time focusing on improving the one with your husband, if you decide you do want to try. You won't have much urge to do anything in the old relationship while your head is spinning with thoughts of how great the new guy is. NRE can be toxic, and kill relationships that otherwise were healthy or at least decent.

It's your life though, and only you can decide what to do with your situation.
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Old 01-14-2012, 11:41 PM
ChloeJane ChloeJane is offline
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Default Wait until NRE has passed before making life altering decisions.

My heart goes out to you; it sounds like a tough place to be. There's some solid responses here!

The beauty of having two relationships can be that it takes the pressure off one person to provide everything for you. For me personally, it's akin to my circle of friends; they all bring something different to the table, and bring out different parts of me - together, all of our relationships seem to have a way of bringing everything that I need.

NRE is both a blessing and a curse, in my experience. It's so much fun to fall in love, to see all of the good in another human being, and to bond with them. It's also a totally impractical basis for a future - it makes us FEEL like the future possibilities are endless, but just as NYCyndie said, the reality of each relationship is very different than NRE makes us feel that it might be.

I would ask yourself some questions to get clear about where you are at emotionally. Ask yourself how comparing the differences between the two men is serving you, your relationship with #1 and your relationship #2. Is it helping or hurting? Do you need to ask this question right now? Do you need to compare them as human beings, or can you enjoy them each for what they bring to your life without resenting either of them for not being each other? Is it possible for #1 to provide you with MORE of what you want without feeling like he can't be himself? Have you let 18 months pass yet (typically the max out of NRE, often sooner though)? Are you investing enough time and energy into #1? Are you bringing YOUR best to #1? Are you putting a sense of urgency on yourself/a need to make a decision? Are you creating an us/them scenario with NRE? How would you feel if the situation was reversed, and your husband was feeling the same way? What would you say to him to help him through it, and still protect your relationship with him?

I find it helpful to ask myself a TON of questions, and to avoid my own emotional pitfalls or tendencies to run in the direction of whatever feels best right now..... Getting clear within myself WITHOUT the pressure to make a decision helps me understand myself better, and that's the biggest gift of poly to me!

Last edited by ChloeJane; 01-14-2012 at 11:42 PM. Reason: added the word not
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Old 01-14-2012, 11:49 PM
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rory rory is offline
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^Some good questions!

Also I would think about this: if your relationship with your newer partner were to end, do you think you would still consider ending your relationship with your husband? Do you think there might be a part of you that's been scared of being alone? Do you think there might be a part that falls into the mono-conditioning trap; feeling that since the new guy is so perfect/so much better for you, it means you should change partners?
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Old 01-15-2012, 07:20 AM
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SchrodingersCat SchrodingersCat is offline
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Unlike some of the others above, I don't get the impression that this is just NRE.

The needs you mentioned (needing to feel like an equal partner, feeling appreciated, participating in the marriage) are not really "NRE" type needs. I think of those as being things like: frequent sex, excitement about seeing each other, getting flowers for no particular reason... you know, the kinds of things you have in the beginning but drop off with time. No, the needs you mention are ones that, if anything, should grow over time, not taper off.

Now, I don't think that's a reason to be hasty and actually leave your husband. But it's definitely critical that you inform him that your needs are not being met and that you've reached your breaking point of being able to tolerate living without them. While it might hurt his feelings to point out that your boyfriend is meeting these needs, it may also snap him into reality about the severity of the situation.

What I find helpful when my needs are not being met is to be ultra specific. I used to say things like "I need more romancing." Eventually I realized, he doesn't know what that means. So I started to say things like, it makes me feel really special when you buy me flowers.

The other trick is to lavish him with praise and appreciation when he gets it right, even a little bit. Humans respond very well to positive reinforcement, even when they recognize that they're being trained My husband and I have been known to literally pat each other on the head and say "Good Husband/Wife" which is replied to with "I did good!" I suppose some people might see that as degrading, but it works for us.
As I am sure any cat owner will be able to tell you,
someone else putting you in a box is entirely different
from getting into a box yourself.
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Old 01-15-2012, 11:57 AM
polyq4 polyq4 is offline
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Hi there, having become very involved in a loving quad, I can fully understand where you are going however.....I absolutely love my wife to no end, but the way I have bonded with my GF now I would not easily give it up. And of course I have the normal day to day stuff with my wife that I do not have with the GF, however that may change some day. (there has been some talk of the 4 of us moving together). We have been together as a quad for 4 years now and it has taken that long for the real gelling to happen. Please take the time to let everything settle then see where things are at.
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