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Old 02-19-2012, 05:00 AM
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Default Dealing with guilt.

So I have stated before that my wife and I are in an open marriage. Well one of the major problems I seem to have when seeing someone outside of the marriage is guilt. Especially if the person is long-distance. I feel guilty that my wife gets to experience intimacy with me that the other girl has no chance of any time soon. I feel like she deserves to be able to spend time with me.

Take the girl I am currently talking to as an example. She lives in Ohio and I live in Virginia. We met online and there was an almost instant attraction. Before we even really started getting to know each other I made sure she was fully aware that I AM married and my wife will ALWAYS come first. At first she said she was okay with it and we talked for a bit on MSN and such. But then she told me she was feeling jealous and we talked. One day down the road she wants to have kids and get married and have someone who ONLY wants her. And I feel terrible that I can't provide that for her because we both like each other a lot. She had decided that she couldn't be with me if there was no hope of having me to herself but then we talked some more and she said she was willing to try under the caveat that she can see other people too. But ever since we made that decision I feel like she has been pulling away from me. She doesn't reply to messages when she used to reply instantly, she seems a lot more distant only replying with one word or maybe two. And every time I try to ask her a question about the relationship and how she is feeling it goes unanswered. I feel horrible because I wish I could split myself in two and let her have one and my wife the other. I feel like she deserves someone who only wants to be with her if that's what she wants. And I can never give that to her unless something catastrophic happens between me and my wife.

Any advice? What do I do?
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Old 02-19-2012, 07:29 AM
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I don't think it makes much sense to be guilty about anything that has happened...you've been clear...you probably really want to work on why you'd feel guilty, guilt should be reserved for when you're doing something wrong you know?

But it also doesn't make much sense to expend too much energy on somebody who seems to want to be monogamous, and that you can't see because of distance. Yes I'd say let them go, there are lots of amazing people out there in the world, that will suit both of you better as partners most likely. Poly is difficult enough without thinking (before there is really actually much of a relationship) that you wish you could be split in two. I'd suggest starting off dating people who are already poly or in open relationships and used to sharing their time and energy. That's great she is open minded enough to give it a try but...if she isn't going to go out and actively date now, I don't really see this as anything more than an exercise in misery. "Like each other a lot" is a much better place to stop than "We're in love" and going to be tortured, and this situation is going to negatively affect her, and my wife, and me etc etc.

Is your wife dating other people? Have you asked her how she keeps from feeling guilty and not feeling like she should break up with you to go spend 100% of her energy on another partner?

I have no guilt about engaging with new partners because I tell them my situation and what that means for time available/what a relationship can be, ranging from FWB up to co-primary relationships depending on your agreements, and that's all you can really do. If you tell them that you are married, they won't expect to marry you. If you and your wife are open to having co-spouses at some point, you can let people know you are open to that. If you are only available X amount of time, then you let them know that, and you stick to it so they don't think you can be sweet talked into changing your boundaries. If you don't have money to travel to see a LDR, you are upfront with that, and then nobody expects that the relationship is going to be in person except for rarely.

Really with the amount of guilt you are feeling in this situation (I don't understand why you are feeling so much misery about it, do you?) I would suggest not engaging with them anymore, and working on why you felt this way (with your wife, yourself, friends, anonymous online forums) before dating at all, and then I'd stick to locals if possible, ones who are either seasoned at non-monogamy OR are open to trying it but don't have a known strong desire to go have the mono one and only at some point.
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Old 02-19-2012, 07:29 AM
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I think you should let her go.

She sounds like a mono person and she's making that clear.

You've said it yourself

Quote:
I feel like she deserves someone who only wants to be with her if that's what she wants. And I can never give that to her
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Old 02-19-2012, 07:39 AM
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The only problem with dating someone locally is there aren't any girls around here that I actually like who are into poly. And my wife doesn't feel guilt because she is only in it for sex. She has no emotional attachment to the guys she sees. I can't do that though and she knows that hence why I am pursuing emotional relationships while hers are strictly physical.
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Old 02-19-2012, 08:02 AM
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I think it's pretty clear that this girlfriend is not for you, and this relationship will not work out.

As for the guilt, let it go - just because this chick wants a dedicated mono relationship doesn't mean that you should be the one to give it to her, and the fact that you can't is no reason to indulge in guilt.
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Old 02-19-2012, 08:26 AM
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I guess since this girl who lives in another state isn't into poly either, I think your chances of finding local people who are as open to it as she is are just as likely if you keep working at being open.
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Old 02-19-2012, 02:54 PM
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You may well be right that there are no poly-geeky girls in Danville, but I promise you there are in NoVa, DC, and Baltimore. Heck of a lot closer than OH.

You have no more reason to feel guilty than she does for the distance, you both knew the score going into it. As for her desire to be mono, that is her business and hopefully she will sort it out. It's not your fault, you've been very clear about your situation.
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Old 02-19-2012, 05:48 PM
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After talking to her last night I'm pretty sure it's over. She obviously is only pretending to be okay with the open relationship just to be with me and all that is gonna do is create resentment and pain for both of us.
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Old 02-19-2012, 06:06 PM
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Default can relate

I am in a very similar situation, except the guy I was seeing was here in person, he knew everything up front, but as soon as we slept together his emotions got really mixed up and his reaction was to pull away. It's hard isn't it? Things are going so well, you talk, they seem great and then *poof* it's gone. I'm feeling a bit jaded by the whole thing.
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Old 02-20-2012, 10:18 AM
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just be careful not to fall in any kind of "stealing attention" game and giving it the "wrong way". some people do this, wanting attention to completely take away someone from their beloved. unsecurity system. i'm not telling this girl may act like this, but it's better to remember that this game exists.
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